Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo | FILE PHOTO (Photo by Arianne Maye D.G. Viri/ The Varsitarian)

Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo on Monday urged the faithful to go to church and offer Mass for their departed loved ones as cemeteries nationwide would be closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.

“On November 1 and 2, all are encouraged to go to Church and offer Mass for our beloved dead. All of us, living and dead, are united in the offering of Jesus in the Holy Mass,” Pabillo said in a pastoral instruction titled “One with Our Beloved Dead.”

To accommodate more churchgoers, Pabillo said parishes would hold more masses during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

“Our parishes will celebrate more Masses on those days to accommodate more churchgoers with physical distancing. Lighting of candles for the dead can also be done in areas provided by the parishes during the month of November,” he said.

The bishop added that the lighting of candles was an “external manifestation” of prayer.

Instead of going to the cemeteries, he called on the faithful to “set aside time together as a family in their homes and pray for those who have gone ahead of us.”

“It is a good and holy thought to pray for the dead. It would also be good if we can share with the family members our recollections about our beloved dead so that their memory can bind us closer to each other,” he said.

Pabillo also urged the faithful to schedule their visits to the cemetery on other days due to the closure of cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.

Pabillo also reminded the faithful that “it is not allowed to keep the urns containing the ashes of their dead in their homes permanently.”

“During these past six months, many have experienced death in the family, and for hygienic reasons, many of our dead were cremated. [T]here is great danger of desecration in the future, especially when we are no longer around to look after and care for these ashes,” he said.

“In this way too, other people outside of our families who would like to visit and pray for them can freely do so any time,” he added.

On Sept. 17, the Inter-Agency Task Force issued a resolution saying: “All public and private cemeteries, and memorial parks, including columbariums and the like throughout the country shall be closed to visitors from October 29 to November 4, 2020.”

The mayors of Metro Manila earlier approved a resolution to temporarily close all public and private cemeteries from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 to prevent large crowds and contain the spread of coronavirus disease.

On Nov. 1 and 2, Catholics observe All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which have become part of religious and cultural traditions of Filipinos.