Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula of Manila has urged Catholic churches within the Archdiocese of Manila to limit virtual masses and increase their efforts to persuade the faithful to return to attending in-person services.

Limiting Virtual Masses

According to Philstar, Advincula reiterated the request of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the faithful to engage in physical masses, particularly on Sundays, which was done in a two-part circular page long and dated Mar. 16. He stated that the responsibility of the faithful to partake in the Sunday Eucharist has resumed.

As part of its attempts to encourage people to attend physical masses, Advincula has published suggestions requesting that parishes consider the frequency of live-streaming the Holy Communion. He also suggested that people be encouraged to continue adopting health protocols in all parish churches and places for liturgical celebrations to be confident in attending religious events.

Advincula stated that the "Act of Spiritual Communion" should not be spoken loudly. At the same time, communion is distributed to the faithful attending physical masses, as this devotional prayer is designed for those following the online groups.

In October 2019, Pablo Virgilio David, the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), urged the faithful to return to Sunday Mass pews physically. He noted that these conditions enable and compel people to return to the normalcy of Christian life, which has the church building as its home to celebrate the liturgy, notably the Eucharist, Rappler reported.

To reassure Catholics that attending church is safe, David stated that health protocols have yet to be adopted in churches and other locations hosting liturgical festivities. In light of this, he also noted that it was necessary to analyze and study the frequency of live-streamed Masses, which provided Catholics with spiritual support during the height of the lockdown. As mentioned, Sundays are designated "days of obligation" for Catholics because, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, they are "the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice."

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Virtual Mass in the Philippines During Pandemic

In 2020, Inquirer reported that Christian churches in the Philippines held online services and Masses to comply with the Department of Health's advisory that people should practice social distancing to contain the rapid spread of the new coronavirus. The advisory was issued to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus.

The devout attended services held in their own homes. In keeping with the efforts of health and government officials to limit the virus, Isabela Bishop David William Antonio informed parishioners that the cancellation of Masses that were expected to have high numbers of parishioners in attendance was the "moral obligation" of the church.

An apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Manila, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, issued a pastoral instruction on how the faithful can get the most out of the online Masses on Sunday. He cautioned those who attended Mass to avoid doing so when they were consuming coffee. He suggested that before attending Mass, attendees consult the Catholic Biblical Readings Guide "to prepare oneself to hear them better once they are proclaimed in the Eucharist."

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