MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday has urged priests and the faithful to follow hygiene protocol issued by authorities to help combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We continue to appeal to our priests and faithful to follow the hygiene protocol that the DOH has consistently requested to everyone, namely, the proper washing and sanitation of hands and avoidance of body contacts. There is nothing more effective measure in this crisis than the best effort to stay clean,” said CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles in Circular No. 20-10.
He also reiterated the CBCP’s earlier recommendations for the members of the clergy and the people against the deadly virus.
“The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a state of public health emergency in the country. This according to our health officials is a call to greater preparedness if the spread of the (Covid-19) continues to affect a greater number of the population. This has caused more fear, anxiety, and genuine concern. We need to take all of these seriously. We have already issued some guidelines in the recent past on the matter but we need to respond to the situation now (through) consistent efforts together,” he said.
While stressing that God uses material instruments to bring blessings and presence to the faithful, Valles said these should also be used “to protect ourselves and our families against the spread of Covid-19 and any other disease”.
He added that measures implemented by the CBCP are just temporary and do not change the traditions of the Church.
The following are the recommendations issued by the CBCP:
— Those feeling unwell physically should refrain from liturgical assemblies until they are certain of their diagnosis
— Clergy and the faithful alike should use best practices through careful handwashing and frequent cleaning of liturgical space and objects (e.g. sacred statues and sacred vessels)
— Reception of communion by the hand and wearing of face masks by ordained and lay ministers giving them
— Emptying of holy water fonts at the doors or entrances of churches
— Use of protective cloths in areas where confessions are held
— No kissing and touching sacred images and statues
— Call for authorities to suspend all mass gatherings
— No passing of collection box among churchgoers. Collectors and those who count money must wear face masks and use alcohol after counting.
Valles, meanwhile, said they continue to pray the Oratio Imperata they requested to all the dioceses of the country.
“We pray that this pandemic might end quickly and that through the intercession of Our Holy Mother, the Help of Christians, and St. Raphael the Archangel, and all our Saints we may be delivered from this epidemic,” he added. (PNA)