Catholic churches prepare for Simbang Gabi

December 3, 2021 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 238 views

CATHOLIC Churches are now preparing for the traditional Midnight Mass or Simbang Gabi, a nine-day series of dawn masses leading to Christmas Eve, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the schedule of masses will depend on the alert status and the decision of the local government units. Traditionally, Simbang Gabi starts on Dec. 16.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP Executive Secretary of Public Affairs Committee, said they are preparing for both live and online coverage of the masses because while some churches expect more churchgoers to attend the masses with an eased community quarantine status, they also have to cater to the faithful who do not venture outside their homes.

“Mayroon pa rin namang mga taong hindi lumalabas ng kanilang bahay that is why we also need to serve them. Kaya nagmimisa kami ng aktwal, may mga tao sa harap namin, and at the same time the camera is rolling,” he said.

Secillano added that vaccination cards will be required from those who will go attend in the churches and that health protocols will be strictly implemented.

“Kapag pumasok ka, dapat may vaccination [card] ka. Kasi may influx ng tao ‘yan, we appeal also to the honesty of the person,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials of the Quiapo Church said they are already finalizing their protocols while waiting for the new guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Only fully vaccinated attendees will be allowed inside the church and up to 50% capacity, while 70% outdoor venue capacity is allowed. The attendees will be monitored by the church volunteers and police personnel.

The priest and members of the church will also go in the place of the attendees to give communion.

The Quiapo Church will also conduct mass in Liwasang Bonifacio plaza at 8 p.m. starting Dec. 15.

Aside from churches, vendors of puto bumbong and bibingka are also starting to prepare ahead of the Simbang Gabi masses. The said native delicacies have become traditional food after attending the dawn masses.