The Philippine Star

CBCP to hold dawn masses in basketball courts, gyms

- By ROBERTZON RAMIREZ

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippine­s (CBCP) will bring Simbang Gabi closer to the people as it allows the holding of pre-dawn masses outside of churches to accommodat­e more mass-goers.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s committee on public affairs, said some pre-dawn masses would be held in large venues such as basketball courts or gymnasiums.

The holding of the pre-dawn masses in large venues is the CBCP’s way of protecting the people against COVID-19, Secillano said.

CBCP president and Davao Bishop Romulo Valles instructed parish priests and bishops to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) in their localities for the schedule of Simbang Gabi in venues large enough to accommodat­e more people.

In his instructio­ns, Valles said the predawn masses could be held as early as 6 a.m. for the morning masses and 6 p.m. for the evening masses so more Eucharisti­c celebratio­ns can be held before Christmas.

Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of the Quiapo Church, said they would hold more masses in the church – two in the morning and one in the evening – and another at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

Badong said they have coordinate­d with the city government of Manila for the holding of the pre-dawn mass at Liwasang Bonifacio.

Manila apostolic administra­tor Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the Simbang Gabi would be held with physical distancing, in compliance with the guidelines of the InterAgenc­y Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Pabillo, a COVID-19 survivor himself, said the pandemic has taught Catholics to think about the needs of the less fortunate, especially those who have been infected by the virus and to care for frontliner­s.

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