As more places in the country begin to lessen quarantine restrictions, the Church is also on its way to adopting the “new normal.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released guidelines and recommendations to parishes. This comes following the re-opening of the Baclaran Church.
While government regulations still prohibit mass gatherings, essential work gatherings, and religious activities may resume with strict social distancing. (Read: Here’s what you can expect on 2020 weddings, baptisms, Sunday Masses)
“Physical distancing will be among the new normal when public Masses resume as the country continues to battle the coronavirus crisis,” according to CBCP News. Worshippers are also required to wear face masks and foot baths will be installed. (Read: How is ‘safe malling’ ensured in SM stores and supermarkets?)
Here are the general guidelines as released by the CBCP:
- There will be physical distancing markers on the benches/pews to indicate where the faithful could go and sit while inside the church.
- The faithful are still encouraged to receive communion in the hand.
- Refrain from holding hands when reciting the “Our Father” during Mass. Shaking hands during Sign of Peace is discouraged.
- There will be thermal scanners for temperature check and foot baths at church entrances.
- Priests are discouraged from wearing face masks or gloves in celebrating the Eucharist but instead told to remain more than one meter from the congregation during Mass.
- Choir members will be reduced to keep physical distancing—it is advised that only a cantor should lead the assembly in the singing.
- During the offertory, instead of passing baskets from person to person in each of the pews, designated boxes or collection points will be placed.
- The elderly, children, and the sick are discouraged from attending Mass while there is still the threat of the virus.
- Younger eucharistic ministers shall be trained since many of the lay ministers are elderly and vulnerable to infection.
For the full document of the CBCP Guidelines, click here.