DOP CIRCULAR NO. 2020-038

21 May 2020

TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, PARISH ADMINISTRATORS, RECTORS, CHAPLAINS, GUEST PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS MEN AND WOMEN, and LAY FAITHFUL IN THE DIOCESE OF PARAÑAQUE

RE: ON THE CELERBATION OF SACRAMENTS AND SACRAMENTALS DURING MODIFIED ENHANCED COMMUNITY QUARRANTINE (MECQ)

My dear brother priests and lay faithful,

Greetings in Christ!

The Government has recently announced the transition from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) toModified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for the National Capital Region (NCR), which includes the three cities of our Diocese, namely, Paranaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa.

 The recent declaration also stipulated that although religious gatherings in areas placed under MECQ are now allowed, the strict implementation of the minimum public health standards as defined by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) omnibus guidelines must be observed. These include, but are not limited to, physical distancing, wearing of face-masks, and the disinfection and sanitation of areas occupied by the people. Moreover, such gatherings (under MECQ) are limited to not more than five individuals.

With this recent mandate of the government, I would like to remind all our priests, parishes and lay faithful of the following:

1. The guidelines indicated in DOP CIRCULAR NO. 2020-035 last 30 April 2020 regarding the Recommendations on the Celebration of the Sacraments and Sacramental during ECQ and in the succeeding months due to COVID-19, ARE STILL BINDING.

2. Since the acceptable number of persons allowed for public gatherings, in our case, liturgical and devotional celebrations, stipulated by government is quite obviously impractical and unreasonable, we continue the suspension of masses celebrated with the presence of the faithful. This is until such time that further evaluation is considered by the local government units and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)

3. Parishes, therefore, must continue to make the Masses and other devotional celebrations available for the faithful online through live-streaming platforms.

 I am fully aware that our situation and experiences for the past months have really been difficult and extremely challenging, considering all the restrictions that we have had to bear with and the new ways of doing things to which we have had to adapt ourselves. But I do firmly believe that all anxieties.  insecurities and difficulties should be faced with much faith and trust in God. All these will soon pass because God’s mercy is upon us.

 In view of these trying times, I am appealing to you dear brother priests and the faithful of our diocese to extend your patience and perseverance in all things. Let us display a sense of prudence and obedience to the government, which is at the moment our partner in ensuring the protection of ourselves and our fellow Filipinos. It is true that there is an overwhelming desire to open our churches again to our faithful, but we simply cannot decide on our own.

May the Good Lord bless and nourish you always with His mercy and compassion so that you will be healthy and holy in facing these difficult times of our life.

 In Christ,

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

Bishop of Parañaque

Attested by:

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

Chancellor