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LOOK: Fewer people attend Baclaran novena amid COVID-19 scare

Photos by Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Posted at Mar 12 2020 04:29 AM | Updated as of Mar 12 2020 09:19 AM

Church attendance was noticeably low during the Wednesday Novena in the usually crowded National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque amid the coronavirus scare on March 11, 2020. 

The Philippines has recorded 49 positive cases as of March 11 with pending patients under investigation, but this did not stop some Catholic devotees to visit and pray for protection as the world scrambles to address the coronavirus outbreak.

The declaration of the state of public health emergency by President Duterte and the Department of Health prompted the Catholic Church through the leadership of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to issue guidelines and protocols on March 10 on how the churches can help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

Baclaran Church on Wednesday implemented precautionary and safety protocols in adherence to the circular on public health emergency issued by CBCP.  

In an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus as the reported cases increase around the country, the Catholic faithful are reminded of the following guidelines: 

Those who are physically unwell to refrain from attending liturgical assemblies until properly diagnosed in consideration of others.

The elderly and those immunocompromised, who are more vulnerable, are encouraged to view the Holy Mass on TV or live streaming.

Holding of hands during the praying of “The Lord’s Prayer” (Ama Namin) and kissing/hugging when giving the sign of peace is strongly discouraged.

Communion by hand is strictly implemented with priests and lay ministers wearing facemasks as protection for themselves and the communicants.

Catholic devotees are requested to refrain from kissing and touching sacred statues, despite frequent sanitation. Liturgical spaces are sanitized every other liturgical services.

Hand sanitizers are provided at entry points for the use of church goers.

Holy water fonts at the Church doors or entrances will be emptied and covered with cloth.

Starting march 12, Confessions will be given to those who are scheduled to receive the sacraments of marriage, Confirmation, 1st Communion, Adult Baptism and those who are scheduled to undergo an operation.

Granting of General Absolution (act of reconciliation with God and the Church), as instructed by the bishop, will be given at Baclaran Church on its 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. liturgical services except on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Catholic devotees fill the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque in this photo taken on November 27, 2019. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Noticeably fewer people wait outside the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during its weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

A Catholic devotee checks the emptied Holy Water font at one of the entrances of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during its weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Noticeably fewer people are seen inside the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during it typically crowded weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Noticeably fewer people are seen inside the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during it typically crowded weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Barricades are set up to prevent Catholic devotees from touching sacred statues at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during its weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Catholic devotees raise their arms in prayers as touching and kissing of sacred statues are prohibited in an attempt to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during its weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media

Catholic devotees light candles at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque during its weekly Wednesday novena on March 11, 2020. Elmarc Lim, Redemptorist VP New Media