Clergy with face masks? Quiapo Church studying virus precaution: priest

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2020 12:05 PM

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Leaders of Quiapo Church in Manila will consider requiring lay ministers to wear face masks and offer communion by the hand instead of putting the host into the mouths of parishioners to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a priest said Wednesday. 

"Puwede naming pag-usapan po dito. Magandang suggestion din po iyan. Kami naman po ay handa ring sumunod 'pag sinabi ng DOH," said Fr. Douglas Badong, vicar of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. 

(We can talk about it here. That is a good suggestion. We are also ready to obey the DOH.) 

"Kaya lang, talagang medyo matinding paliwanagan sa mga deboto kasi talagang ginagamit nila ang pagiging deboto kaya nahihirapang sumunod," he told radio DZMM. 

(It's just difficult to explain it to the devotees because they cite their faith.) 

Filipino Catholics wear protective masks during a mass, following confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Parañaque, Feb. 5, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

The Quiapo Church is home to a 400-year-old ebony statue of Jesus Christ that draws millions of miracle-seekers in its yearly procession. 

Authorities "from time to time" disinfect the statue that many devotees habitually kiss, said Badong. 

The predominantly Catholic Philippines so far 3 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including one death, all of which were foreigners from Wuhan, China. 

DZMM, Feb. 26, 2020