The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged the public to observe the Undas season with more understanding and prudence, instead of seeing it as an annual tradition.
This comes in the light as Metro Manila mayors agreed to close down cemeteries to prohibit gatherings in the Undas season. The decision was made to further help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region. (Read: Travel Guidelines: 3 Things You Need to Know)
“When we celebrate the All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day, what is more important are prayers for the dead; it’s not really important that we go to cemeteries. Going to cemeteries is not an obligation,” Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secratary of CBCP’s public affairs committee said.
“It is the need of the time, walang dahilan para kontrahin ng simbahan naman ‘yan,” he added. (Read: A prayer to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to help you through grief and loss)
A solution given to the impending cemetery closure is Undas Online—an online platform where individuals may make wishes and offer Masses for their deceased loved ones.
According to Fr. Secillano, the platform is an opportunity for parishioners to continue praying for their departed friends and family without the risks of going out amid the pandemic.
“Ito ay pagkakataon na ibinibigay sa mga Katoliko na hindi makakauwi ng kanilang mga probinsya para bumista sa mga puntod ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay na mag-alay ng misa sa pamamagitan nga nitong Undas Online,” Fr. Secillano said.
As of writing, the cities of Manila and Marikina have already announced the closure of their respective cities’ cemeteries from October 31 to November 2—the days when families would traditionally visit the graves of their departed loved ones. (Read: Panalangin Para sa Kaligtasan ng Pamilya)
“In order to sustain the city’s efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19, there is a compelling need to avoid the influx of people in memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaries immediately before, during, and immediately after All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day,” read a statement in the Executive Order 38 signed by Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso.