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Churches suspend masses, Holy Week activities in Metro Manila

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Churches in Metro Manila said they will suspend all masses and liturgical celebrations, even during Holy Week, to comply with the government's community quarantine in a bid to quell the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

The Archdiocese of Manila announced that masses from March 14 to April 14 will be suspended - the period of the community quarantine imposed by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Disease. 

"We should continue to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Week liturgical celebrations even in the absence of a congregation," a Pastoral Statement of the Bishops of Metro Manila stated. 

Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday activities will also not be open to the public as these dates coincide with the community quarantine period. The faithful may tap online resources to continue attending masses. 

"In spite of the fact that our faithful cannot be physically present in he Eucharistic celebration, the crisis gives us the opportunity to unite ourselves with one another in the bond of spiritual communion through the digital technology," the pastrol statement added.

Baptisms, confirmations, and weddings may still push through "but will be subject to severe restrictions" on the number of participants, with social distancing to be strictly observed, the pastoral statement said. 

Church bells must also ring at 12:00 noon and at 8:00 in the evening to call on the faithful to pray the Oratio Imperata, the Angelus, and the Holy Rosary, as the world faces the public health crisis.

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