The Archdiocese of Manila reminded the faithful to refrain from “caroling,” the traditional singing of Christmas songs in groups in a public place or from house to house, this year.
“We have already instructed our parishes not to organize ‘carolings,’” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the diocese.
Father Jerome Secillano of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish said the directive was issued to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
He said experts have said that the virus can easily be transmitted through singing. “The group or choir practices also pose a risk,” said the priest.
Parishes usually hold “caroling” activities as a form of fund-raising.
Last week, the Interior department advised the public to instead hold “online caroling.”
“If there will be caroling, maybe it should only be online,” said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, ading that “personal and face to face caroling” is not advisable.
Meanwhile, Bishop Pabillo expressed his gratitude to the government for deciding to shorten the curfew hours in December to allow people to attend the traditional “Simbang Gabi.”
“We are happy for this consideration,” said the bishop.
The presidential palace this week said local governments can adjust curfew hours so their constituents can attend the traditional pre-dawn Masses for Christmas.
The Archdiocese of Manila has earlier issued instructions on the celebration of the Advent season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A circular prepared by the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission urged priests to hold Masses in the evening as early as 6 p.m. and for the morning, at 6 a.m.
Parishes are also urged to schedule more “Simbang Gabi” Masses in different venues to reduce the number of churchgoers.