Parishioners, stay home.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines made a call to voluntarily shut down all public church services in Manila for around two weeks, beginning August 3, Monday, until August 14, two Fridays from now.
In a letter signed by Bishop and Apostolic Administrator Broderick S. Pabillo, the CBCP outlined the current dire situation of the pandemic in the country, noting a “more than 5,000 a day” infection rate and overloaded hospital capacity.
It also acknowledged the call of over 80 medical associations for a two-week “time out” — that is, a return to enhanced community quarantine — to ease the health care burden.
“As a response to the call of our medical people, all the churches and shrines in the Archdiocese of Manila will revert to the period of the ECQ protocols,” said the letter.
Public religious activities will be suspended, but online church services will continue.
The letter also appealed to Catholics to help out people affected by the pandemic. “We all suffer from this pandemic economically. However, there are many families that are more badly impacted than others,” it said.
This morning, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the archdiocese of Cubao released a letter of his own. “We will allow our frontliners to breathe, our government to assess and proactively respond to the situation, our Church to evaluate how we can better help our brothers and sisters who are suffering in this situation,” he wrote.
He further encouraged Catholics to wash their hands, wear masks, and practice social distancing.