The Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP) has announced that Holy Masses will be limited to 50 faithfuls in attendance, on a first-come, first-served basis, in keeping with health authorities’ advice to observe “social distancing” as a protective measure against the coronavirus.
“Pursuant to the order of our health authorities, attendance of the congregation must not exceed 50 persons. Hence, we will apply the “first come, first serve” basis,” the Puerto Princesa Vicareate stated in an announcement on its social media page.
“Observe social distancing vigilantly. We have specifically marked our pews where you can be seated,” it added.
The Vicariate said regular schedule of Sunday masses will still be followed
Choir members will also be limited to five at maximum in every mass and holy communion by the hand will be strictly observed.
The holding of hands will not be allowed during the prayer of Our Father, and handshakes, embraces, “beso-beso” and the likes are to be avoided. These are some common gestures done after singing the Our Father and telling fellow church-goer “peace be with you”, which the AVPP wanted to temporarily regulate.
All doors will be closed after every mass for disinfection and churchgoers were advised to refrain from touching sacred images.
The Oratio Imperata will still be prayed in all mass ceremonies.
“Persons with symptoms of the virus, those who have traveled from areas with reported cases of COVID-19 and are those susceptible to sickness are advised not to attend the gathering for the time being. Bishop Mesiona has issued a special dispensation from Sunday Holy Obligation in such cases,” according to the directive.
The live-streaming of the mass will also be activated through AVPP-Ugnayan Facebook page from 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Mass celebrations over the radio and television will also be available.
Aside from Sunday, there will also be four masses on weekdays from 6:00 am, 7:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 5:30 pm.
The Cathedral will remain open, but only the two side doors will be utilized as the entrance will be from the Rizal Avenue side and exit to Taft Street.
“Let us all be guided accordingly as we pray fervently,” AVPP said. // Photo courtesy of AVPP