The Philippine Star
CBCP to hold dawn masses in basketball courts, gyms
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.