The Diocese of Pasig in the Philippine capital announced that it will reopen churches to the public starting Saturday, July 11.
Authorities have earlier announced that churches under “general community quarantine” can hold religious services up to 10 percent of the capacity of the venue starting July 10.
“With great joy, I am happy to announce to you that we will re-open our churches beginning July 11, Saturday, Memorial of St. Benedict, for the public celebrations of the sacraments and sacramentals,” said Bishop Mylo Vergara in a letter addressed to the faithful.
“It has been almost four months since March 14 that mass gatherings and public celebrations of sacraments, including the Holy Eucharist, have been suspended in order to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
The prelate, however, reminded the faithful to observe safety protocols, such as the wearing of face masks.
“We have to comply with the minimum requirements of health and safety standards needed in attending our religious gatherings,” said Bishop Vergara.
He also urged those below 21 years old and those 60 years old and above, and those with immunodeficiency to stay home and follow the celebration of the Holy Mass online.
“They can join the live stream celebration of Mass in their homes through different media platforms,” said Bishop Vergara.
He said the dispensation from the Sunday Obligation will still be temporarily maintained while there is still no available vaccine for the virus.
“This is to ensure that those impeded because of the regulations under [quarantine] and those who prefer to exercise extreme caution will not feel obligated to attend,” said Bishop Vergara.
Meanwhile, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao said churches in his diocese will not reopen unless the Office of the City Mayor will give a clearance.
“The Mayor’s office has not received a formal document allowing 10 percent of occupancy capacity of a church for public worship,” said the bishop.
“We need clearance from the local government for its implementation,” he said. “We just have to wait,” added Bishop Ongtioco.