MANILA - The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro has announced the temporary closure of at least 6 of its parish churches as several priests contracted COVID-19.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Archbishop Jose Cabantan said the churches will be closed for 10 days and will begin on Wednesday, April 28.
Included are the parish churches of Jesus Nazareno and San Isidro, both within Cagayan de Oro City; and the Our Lady of Candelaria in Tagoloan, Inmaculada Concepcion in Jasa-an, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Bobontugan, and Santa Cruz in Laguindingan.
The archbishop said the churches will undergo disinfection.
"I humbly ask for understanding from out faithful, especially those directly affected, and for prayer for our priests who have fallen victims, and that no other priest may suffer the same fate so that our priests may continue in serving you in your respective assignments," Cabantan said.
Since the start of pandemic, several high-ranking Filipino prelates have fallen victim to the dreaded novel coronavirus, including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, currently based in Rome serving as the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The cardinal was asymptomatic and recovered immediately.
Other Filipino bishops who also contracted COVID-19 but have since recovered include Manila Archdiocese's Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez, and San Fernando Archbishop Florentino Lavarias.
The Philippines is one of the most badly affected in Southeast Asia during the pandemic, having more than 1 million recorded coronavirus infections and over 70,000 active cases to date.