The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Santo Niño in Manila’s Tondo district suspended public Masses for the upcoming feast of the child Jesus as COVID-19 cases continue to spread in Metro Manila.
The parish announced the new measure on Wednesday, January 5, and will take effect from January 15 to 16. It said the church will be closed to the public during the two days to avoid mass gathering.
“This move is to prevent the influx of devotees who are at risk of infection with COVID-19,” read a brief statement from the shrine.
Liturgical services will, however, be “livestreamed” through the shrine’s Facebook page.
“Let us celebrate the feast of our beloved Santo Niño in a safe and peaceful way in our homes and places,” the shrine added. “Let us pray together that this pandemic will end.”
In Cebu City, there will also be no in-person Masses at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño for the 457th “Fiesta Señor” held every third Sunday of January.
As early as November last year, the Augustinian friars already announced that there would be no public Masses for the entire duration of the celebration.
Similar to last year, devotees were advised to join the novena and fiesta Masses through the basilica’s Facebook page and Youtube channel.