Archbishop Johh Du of Palo has warned parishes under his archdiocese from holding Christmas parties this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The parish and parish organizations’ traditional Christmas parties are discouraged, but not the traditional gift-giving to the poor sections of our society,” said the prelate in a circular on November 13.
“Christmas gifts may be given to pre-identified families, and gifts will be sent directly to their respective homes,” said the archbishop, adding that proper health protocol should be strictly observed.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, has also discouraged parishes from holding Christmas parties to prevent the spread the virus and as an expression of “solidarity” with those who are suffering.
Archbishop Du reminded parishes that the traditional kissing of the image of the Infant Jesus will not be allowed due to the pandemic.
In its place, the parish may introduce creative ways to emphasize the spirit of Christmas.
“We can encourage the parishioners to put up altars or the Christmas crib in their gates or porches and place their offerings (even mass intentions) and other gifts for the apostolate (or gift-giving to the poor) of the parish,” said the prelate.
“A small procession of church ministers may go from one house to another either to bless their images or to say a prayer before the house or to simply offer a gift from the parish and to get whatever offering the household has prepared to be shared to the less fortunate,” he added.
Archbishop Du said such activities must be coordinated with the barangay (village) and local authorities, and local health protocol should be strictly followed.