Circular No. 2023 – 29
16 March 2023
TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, TEAM MINISTRY MODERATORS AND MEMBERS,RECTORS, AND CHAPLAINS IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF MANILA
RE: ON THE OBLIGATION OF THE FAITHFUL TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SUNDAY EUCHARIST
Dear Reverend Monsignori and Fathers,
Greetings of peace in the Lord!
On 14 October 2022, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a circular entitled Encouraging the Faithful to Return to Sunday Masses in Churches, which pointed out that the “circumstances permit and oblige us to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the Church building as its home of the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, as ‘the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows’ (SC, 10).”
In the Archdiocese of Manila, we followed the principle that in situations when there is impossibility or difficulty to fulfill an obligation, the obligation is naturally suspended. Thus, during the pandemic, with the difficulty and even impossibility of fulfilling the Sunday obligation of the faithful, the said obligation was naturally suspended. Considering that “the pandemic has weakened and our official health experts have placed the country into more relaxed health protocols…our people move freely and return to their normal life,” the resumption of the obligation of the faithful to participate in the Sunday Eucharist has naturally taken effect.
As we strongly encourage our faithful to return to the Sunday Eucharist with renewed amazement and devotion, we wish to reiterate the following recommendations:
1. We request our parishes to evaluate the frequency of livestreaming of the celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.
2. We encourage our communities to continue the implementation of health protocols in our parish churches and venues for liturgical celebrations. We make sure that are faithful are convinced that they are safe in our Churches and venues for the liturgical celebrations.
3. The “Act of Spiritual Communion” should not be prayed aloud when communion is distributed to the faithful participating in our celebrations. The “Act of Spiritual Communion,” which is a devotional prayer, is intended for those who are following the celebration online. The prayer can be projected on the screen for those following the Mass online.
4. The constant catechesis on the necessity of our faithful to return to our churches for the Sunday Eucharist should be explained in our homilies and in our catechesis.
5. The communion ministers will now say “The Body of Christ” to each communicant. The ministers are encouraged to continue wearing their face masks, especially when distributing communion.
6. The holy water fonts, which have been emptied during the pandemic, can now be used after the Easter Vigil.
Thank you very much. I gladly take this opportunity to assure you of my paternal and prayerful solicitude.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ JOSE F. CARDINAL ADVINCULA
Archbishop of Manila