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Sunday, 05 July 2020 06:05

July 10: From 10 persons to 10 percent Capacity for Churches

Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church) said that Malacañang’s decision to allow religious activities under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas, although still with some limitations, is a welcome development to many parishes in Manila, especially in Quiapo Church.

“Welcome development yun. Dati ten persons. Yang ten percent, bale ang ibig sabihin niyan meron ng makakaupo bawat pew. So, close to two hundred yun from ten to two hundred, matutuwa na ang mga tao,” Msgr. Coronel told the Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications.

Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)
Photo Credit: Quiapo Church Facebook Page

On Thursday, during the Laging Handa program aired over the state-run PTV4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the resumption of mass gatherings including religious activities in GCQ areas but only to ten percent of the church’s seating capacity that will take effect on July 10, 2020.

With the said development, Msgr. Coronel stressed that they will embrace the challenges it entails while complying with the safety protocols provided by the IATF-EID. He said that they will implement strict social distancing, temperature checking, wearing of masks, and hand sanitizing as soon as the new rule takes effect. They will also be disinfecting the pews regularly and the equipment used during the online activities of the church. Consequently, he noted, there might be an increase in the number of lay volunteers who will assist during the new normal.

Quiapo Church prioritizes the protection and safety of its parish workers, the Rector said, as they render their service to the faithful and attend to the needs of the devotees during the religious activities. These, according to him are the two primary concerns the parish recognizes during GCQ.

“Galing kami ng quarantine. Walang trabaho. Wala pati rector’s office, walang finance. Sarado. Isasara ko talga ang simbahan kapag may nag-covid na naman. Yan ang experience namin. On the one hand, proportektahan mo ang health…Sa mga deboto,

maraming makukulit, mga pasaway. Kapag nagbukas…pagsasabihan mo pa. Marami ring elements na basta nagble-bless kusang lalapit yang mga yan, makikipagsiksikan talaga. May mga taong ganun,” Msgr. Coronel said.

Msgr. Coronel, who held position as an officer of the Archdiocese of Manila, continues to recognize the importance of online Masses especially during the quarantine period. He in particular said, that the Quiapo Church's online masses being cross-posted on the Facebook pages of other parishes and religious groups and organizations helped increase viewership and at the same time encourage more faithful to donate online, providing support to the church.

“Ito yung tuluy tuloy na mga bagong tinatawag na pastoral innovation. We have to adapt eh. Kailangan mag-adapt ka sa mga new pandemic circumstances,” Msgr. Coronel said. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)