By Christina Hermoso
A Roman Catholic Church leader in Mindanao observed a low turn-out of participants on its first Sunday public mass in two months following a lockdown due to the corona virus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad said the small number of mass goers at the city’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral was perhaps an indication that many are still afraid to come to church because of the prevailing threat of the virus.
“People are afraid to come to church because of this pandemic. Practically only few attended our masses when we opened the church,” Jumoad said in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral could accommodate around 1,500 people “but in most masses, church attendance was only about 300 people,” he observed.
The archbishop led the rites for the full opening of the cathedral and five other parishes in the city last May 17 to signal the holding of public masses for the first time in two months, as restrictions were eased in the Misamis Occidental city.
“Still, it was good we did it and we hope that next Sunday, church attendance will increase, the archbishop said.
The Archdiocese of Ozamiz is holding public holy masses under strict new guidelines worked out between the church and local government authorities. Aside from the mandatory wearing of face mask, physical distancing will be observed inside the church. Foot baths will also be placed in all entrances.