Catholics pray inside the Santo Domingo Church. (Photo by Matthew Vincent V. Vital/ The Varsitarian)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged Filipino Catholics to return to in-person Sunday Masses as it assured them of safety measures in church buildings.

In a circular released on Oct 14, CBCP president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said that with the pandemic “weakened,” the faithful could return to church without fear of the virus.

“With gratitude to God, the pandemic has weakened, and our official health experts have placed the country into more relaxed health protocols…These circumstances permit and oblige us to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the Church building as its home of the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist,” he said.

David said the Covid-19 pandemic was a “difficult and painful time” for the Church that necessitated the faithful to explore “creative ways to nourish the communion of faith with the Lord and with their brothers and sisters.”

“We strongly encourage our faithful to return to the Sunday Eucharist with a purified heart, renewed amazement, and increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him and bring him to our brothers and sisters with the witness of a life full of faith, love and hope,” he added.

David also called for a study on the frequency of live-streaming the Holy Eucharist as he told Catholics that no broadcast could compare with the physical experience of attending Mass.

“[T]hese broadcasts alone risk distancing us from a personal and intimate encounter with the incarnate God who gave himself to us not in a virtual way, but really, saying: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him,’” he said.

“The constant catechesis on the necessity of our faithful to return to our churches for the Sunday Eucharist should be explained in our homilies and in our catechesis,” he added.


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