5-minute prayers, 10-person Mass: Quiapo Church reopens with new pandemic protocols


Posted at Jun 05 2020 07:46 AM | Updated as of Jun 05 2020 04:06 PM

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MANILA — Quiapo Church in Manila, home to the Black Nazarene statue that draws millions of miracle-seekers in its yearly procession, will reopen Friday with new protocols to keep parishioners safe from the coronavirus pandemic, a priest said.

Only 10 people will be allowed inside the church during Masses, which meets an inter-agency task force's cap on attendees of religious gatherings, said vicar Fr. Douglas Badong.

During the communion, parishioners will no longer line up but will instead be approached by lay ministers, he told TeleRadyo.

When there is no Mass, up to 50 people can enter the church to pray for about 5 minutes. Floor markings outside the church will guide them on where to line up as they wait for their turn, he said.

Parishioners should also wear masks, pass through a disinfection tent and a check by medical officers before they enter the church, he said.

Pews that can fit 8 people will only seat up to 2 parishioners, said Badong.

"Dapat maintain pa rin nila iyong social distancing. Matuto silang maghintay. Pero dapat iyong iba rin, be sensitive na mayroong gustong makasulyap, gustong makapagdasal din," he said in a TeleRadyo interview.

(They should still maintain social distancing, learn to wait. Others should also be sensitive that other devotees want to see the Black Nazarene and pray, too.)

The Philippines, with its 100 million people, is the bastion of Roman Catholicism in Asia, with 8 in 10 people subscribing to the faith. Spanish colonizers brought the religion in the 1500s.