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With the circular released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last Wednesday, January 29, the parishes of Roman Catholic Church will now temporarily practice the communion in the hand and avoid holding hands while praying the “Our Father” amidst the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus (-nCoV).
The circular that are addressed to all dioceses, CBCP Secretary General, Rev. Fr. Marvin Mejia explained that the said measures are needed to “prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease.”
“The communion in the hand [must] be practiced ordinarily to help prevent further fear from people who are reasonably cautious about this matter,” part of Fr. Mejia’s statement from the website of the CBCP.
He said that, part also of the measures is to discourage the other forms of close contact like shaking hands during the “sign of peace,” a very common practice in Catholic Church during the celebration of the Holy Mass.
And as recommendations from health experts, the CBCP likewise urged the parish churches to regularly change their holy water in the fonts and install “protective cloth” on the grills of confessionals
A prayer called “Oratio Imperata,” has also released by CBCP to be recited in all weekdays and Sunday Masses, after the Communion, kneeling down, starting on Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Church explained that it is “for the people who are sick because of the virus and for the prevention of a global outbreak.”
“We pray for your grace for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause of this virus and its disease and of stemming the tide of its transmission,” part of the prayer reads.
“Guide the hands and minds of medical experts that they may minister to the sick with competence and compassion and of those governments and private agencies that must find cure and solution to this epidemic,” it added.
Meanwhile, DOH-CHD MIMAROPA Regional Director Mario Baquilod expressed their full support to the Church’s effort.
“Actually, ang Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) requested the Department of Health na ang ating pagkokomonyon ay hindi na didiretso sa bibig at saka ‘yung [kapag mananalangin ng] ‘Our Father,’ iiwasan na nating maghawak-hawak ng kamay, which we agree naman. Makatutulong ‘yan,” Baquilod said during “Kapihan sa PIA.”