MANILA - The Archdiocese of Manila on Friday said it would not hold public Mass services from March 14 to 20 as Metro Manila braces for a month-long community quarantine due to COVID-19.
The public is advised to tune in to Radio Veritas 846 and TV Maria for regular broadcasts of Masses and other religious activities, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.
"I recognize that this may impact many faithful and priests but let us do this in the spirit of sacrifice for the good of all," he said in a statement.
Pabillo said the archdiocese will "coordinate with media outlets to participate in our noon and evening prayers."
"You can also follow the daily readings of the Mass by reading your Bibles. The Word of God in the Scriptures gives us hope, strength and guidance," he said.
"Being in community quarantine can be an opportunity to be more present to our loved ones and to the Lord."
Churches will be open all day with sanitizers available at its entrances, Pabillo said. The churches' bells will be rung at 12 noon and 8 p.m. starting Saturday as a signal for the prayer of oratio imperata, he added.
"Although we will not be able to come to Holy Mass, this does not mean that we no longer can come to the Lord. We should all the more strive to be in touch with Him by fervent prayer," he said.
"Let us join in this prayer. Let families gather together at 8 pm to pray as a family for divine protection. After the Oratio Imperata the families can pray the rosary and read the Scriptures."
Kumpisalang Bayan will also be suspended to avoid large crowds but priests will be given definite time to hear individual confessions, according to Pabillo.
Priests must also be available to visit the sick and minister to them, he added.
"In time of crisis people need the Lord, and the priests show God’s nearness by their presence among the people," he said.