TACLOBAN CITY – Follow the guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH).
This was the appeal of Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of the Calbayog Diocese amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19).
In a pastoral letter, Bishop Abarquez called on the faithful for a “greater preparedness” if the spread of the corona virus continue that could affect big number of people.
“As Catholics, we believe that God uses material instruments to bring to us His blessings and presence. This is the reason why we use material elements in our sacraments and sacramentals,” the prelate said reading his pastoral letter through a video message.
He added that in the face of this worldwide pandemic of the COVID-19, even Church people are demanded to exercise vigilance to avoid becoming a source in the transmission of the disease.
“I continue to appeal to my brother-priests and the faithful to follow the hygiene protocol that the DOH has consistently requested for everyone, namely, the proper washing and sanitation of hands and avoidance of body contacts,” Abarquez said.
As guidance to the priests, laymen, and worshippers, the prelate enumerated a guidance that each must do or observe to ensure they and their families would remain safe.
These includes from refraining from attending liturgical assemblies for those who are not feeling well physically.
“Taking the basic steps of wellness is not only sensible but wise and considerate of others. In truth, it is an expression of genuine charity,” he said.
Liturgical spaces should be sanitized after every liturgical services and cleaning of statues and vessels.
He also urged for the putting up of hand sanitizers in every church doors for the churchgoers.
He also advises to empty Holy Water fonts at the door of churches and for churchgoers to stop the practice of dipping their hands at the fonts.
Abarquez also cautioned on no holding of hands when praying or singing the Our Father and no shaking of hands when making the sign of peace.
He also advised communion ministers both priests and lay to sanitize their hands and use face masks before and after giving the Holy Communion.
Churchgoers are also advice to refrain from kissing and touching sacred images and statues.
Confessions are to be done in the confessionals with a protective cloth installed at the grill and protective cloth should be frequently sanitized.
He added that On Good Friday, during the veneration of the Cross, churchgoers must refrain from kissing and touching the cross, “just respectfully genuflect or make a profound bow.”
The prelate also asks Catholic faithful to continue praying the Oratio Imperata.