Sto. Niño devotees urged to follow Covid-19 safety rules

Philippine News Agency
January 13, 2021

LIVE STREAMED MASS. A priest celebrates the 6th day novena mass in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño inside a chapel in the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City that was aired via live streaming. Fr. Alladin Luzon, the Basilica's head for security and order, on Wednesday (Jan. 13, 2021) urged devotees not to burden front-liners by following government protocols against Covid-19 and participating in the novena masses through social media. (Photo courtesy of the Basilia Minore del Sto. Niño)

CEBU CITY – Officials of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño on Wednesday urged devotees and pilgrims not to burden the front-liners and asked for cooperation in following government protocols against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Fr. Alladin Luzon, an Augustinian friar in-charge of security and order at the Basilica, said they canceled public novena masses and masses for Fiesta Señor 2021 on Jan. 17 not because they do not want to be blamed for the rise of Covid-19 cases.

“Actually, what we want to arrive at is that prevention is better than cure,” Luzon said in Cebuano in a radio interview, as he invited devotees to participate in novena masses through live streaming.

The friar said devotees of the Sto. Niño can still express their faith during masses through the virtual platform, adding that “this time is different, as we still have clear and present danger in front of our face”.

The Roman Catholic Church, he said, does not teach a kind of faith without looking at the welfare and well-being, stressing that the faith in God must be “life preserving”.

“Faith is dynamic, it should be life-giving, it should not be like (bahala na) whatever it takes attitude,” he said.

Luzon’s reaction came after many devotees expressed their opposition to the church leadership's decision in canceling in-person novena masses.

On Tuesday, Department of Health-Region 7 chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche commended the Basilica friars for their decision, saying while minimum health protocols are assured inside the church premises, devotees would cram public utility jeepneys and other public places after each religious rite. (PNA)

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