DOP CIRCULAR NO. 2019-077

24 September 2019

 

TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, PARISH ADMINISTRATORS, CHAPLAINS, AND RECTORS OF SHRINES IN THE DIOCESE OF PARAÑAQUE
RE: GUIDELINES FOR THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION IN MALLS 

 

The Eucharist is considered as the most venerable sacrament in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received and by which the Church continually grows (cf. Canon 897).  It is the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC. 1324) in which we receive the real presence of Christ Himself who longs to be a part of our life and fills us with His graces.  Hence, it should always be regarded in its highest honor and reverence in order to preserve the dignity and beauty of the celebration.

We, as a predominantly Catholic nation, regard the Eucharist as an essential source of strength and nourishment in our life of faith.  A clear proof of this is the volume of attendance in the Church on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation which is a good indication of our longing for guidance and nourishment for our personal spiritual well being.

It has been observed that for the past years, the celebration of the Eucharist has extended outside the Church or sacred places such as shopping malls.  These cases have been accommodated in line with Canon 932 on the proper place of the celebration of the Eucharist, with the primary consideration on their pastoral advantage which is for the evangelization of the faithful.

These cases, however, are considered still extra-ordinary which need thorough guidance and direction in order to avoid abuses and preserve the dignity and solemnity of the sacrament.  In fact, on 15 September 2001, the late His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, then Archbishop of Mania, released the Guidelines for the Liturgical Celebrations in Malls and Related Places which were intended to monitor and regulate Masses celebrated in the malls.  (Please see attachment.)

The Diocese of Parañaque presents the following guidelines in order to regulate and monitor the celebration of Masses in shopping malls under our jurisdiction.

 

  1. The primary purpose of Masses in shopping malls is for the spiritual well being of their employees. Their presence during the celebration is important because it is for them that this privilege has been accommodated.  If this aspect is lacking and even taken for granted, permission will not be given to any request.  Malls with existing Masses should strictly adhere to these guidelines; must be willing to revise their schedules/policies.  Suggested time for Masses is 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. or two (2) hours before the opening of the mall.
  1. The Eucharist should be celebrated in a respectable place (cf. Canon 932; GIRM 268). The management of the mall should always make sure that the place will preserve the sanctity and solemnity of the celebration.  Hence, they should take great prudence and effort to provide a respectable and decent place which should be exclusive for the celebration of the Eucharist and not to be mixed up with other services of other Christian denominations.  Unless this is provided, the celebration of the Eucharist shall be withheld.  Liturgical vessels, vestments, and liturgical books should be provided by the management (cf. Guidelines for the Liturgical Celebrations in Mass and Related Places).  The ambo and altar table provided by the management should be exclusively used for Catholic liturgical celebrations.
  1. Masses in shopping malls do not substitute the community setting that the parish could provide. Hence, the faithful should still be encouraged to go back to their respective parish where they could gather and integrate themselves in their community, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (Guidelines for Liturgical Celebrations in Malls and Related Places).

In view of said guidelines, a maximum of one (1) Mass on Saturdays (anticipated) and only two (2) Masses on Sundays are allowed.  On Sundays, people are encouraged to attend Masses in the parish.

Only one (1) Mass is permitted per day for weekday Masses, including First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Wednesday devotion to the Perpetual Help.  Holy Days of Obligation that

fall on weekdays, including ‘Simbang Gabi’ Masses, are not allowed in the malls.  They are to be celebrated in the parish Church or chapel.

  1. Liturgical services held in the malls are under the jurisdiction of the parish where it is located. Hence:
    • Priest Presider can either be coming from the parish or if invited must have a valid celebret permitting them to celebrate Mass in a parish within the jurisdiction of the Diocese.
    • Schedule of Masses in the malls should be coordinated with the parish.
    • Lay Liturgical Ministers (Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors and Commentators, Altar Servers and Music Ministers) should be commissioned in the Diocese of Parañaque as the local Church were they serve.
      • Ministers, who are residents of the diocese, are encouraged to serve in their respective parishes and must secure an endorsement from their respective parish priests, based on the services they render in the parish.
      • Non-resident ministers, who wish to serve in malls, must be endorsed by the parish priest who has jurisdiction over the mall.
  1. Before the parish priest approves the request for mall Masses in his jurisdiction, the following documents should be secured and be submitted to the Chancery Office:
    • The initial request letter from the administration of the mall. This should specify the purpose and the other details of their request for the Eucharistic celebration.
    • The written recommendation of the parish priest to the Diocesan Bishop. After evaluating and ensuring that utmost reverence and devotion are guaranteed by the management of the mall, the parish priest is to submit his written recommendation to the Chancery Office for the approval of the Bishop.
    • This letter should also specify the financial arrangement between parties ensuring that transparency and accountability should be upheld and that commercialism should be avoided.
    • A letter of permission from the Diocesan Bishop. In order for the diocese to properly monitor and guide the growing phenomenon of mall Masses, the permission of the Bishop should be sought ahead of time.
    • The same documents above are also required from those who already have existing Masses. We are establishing a formal and uniform system for mall Masses in the diocese.  Hence, we remind all parish priests and mall managements with this concern that the privilege given befor should be formalized and documented.

 

 

(sgd.) MOST REV. JESSE E. MERCADO, D.D.

Bishop of Parañaque

 

 

Attested by:

(sgd.) REV. FR. CARMELO O. ESTORES

Chancellor