Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed her gratitude to the Diocese of Cubao and Novaliches for taking the lead in adhering to the city’s health guidelines in a bid to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in the city.

Bishop Most Rev. Fr. Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao and Bishop Most Rev. Fr. Roberto Gaa agreed to temporarily suspend the conduct of physical masses, after Mayor Belmonte presented data from OCTA research showing the surge of covid cases on Saturday.

Both diocese prohibited physical masses even before the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) issued the new guidelines.

Aside from masses, the church also restricted other religious activities from March 22 to April 4 2021.

“We are grateful to our prelates for doing these huge initiatives to help the government in this battle. Since the start of the pandemic, the church has been closely working with us already,” Mayor Belmonte said.

The parishes will stream their virtual holy masses and other activities on their respective facebook pages.

“We have to limit our movements to at least control the surge of new covid cases that we are experiencing right now. However, we must also see to it that our residents’ religious activities and traditions won’t be affected,” Mayor Belmonte said.

In an advisory, Diocese of Novaliches’ Bishop Gaa urges their parishes to cut down their workforce.

“As you may know, almost half of new cases daily come from households and workplaces. Given this fact, it would appear that the only way for us to control the further upsurge of Covid cases is to restrict the movements of people, including those movements by the same people from their work places and their homes into and out of our churches,” Bishop Gaa said in a letter addressed for their parishioners.

Meanwhile, Bishop Ongtioco of Diocese of Cubao has assured their devotees that the church will exert every effort to make sure that they can still celebrate holy week safely.

“Your bishop, parish priests, religious leaders, relevant ministries will exert all possible efforts to find the best and most fruitful ways for the faithful to celebrate Holy Week on safe, online platforms,” Bishop Ongtioco said on a statement.

Earlier, the city government and the Diocese of Novaliches and Cubao among others agreed to prohibit lenten practices such as penitentia or traditional penance involving self-flagellation, crucifixion or self-infliction of pain, pabasa or reading of the passion of Christ, senakulo or reenactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and the conduct of visita iglesia or Stations of the Cross to avoid mass gatherings.

Based on the city’s Lenten Season Guidelines which will take effect on March 28 to April 4, public gatherings for palaspas or Palm Sunday (March 28) and salubong (April 4) will also be banned.

The traditional pabasa, palaspas, and senakulo can only be conducted virtually for the safety of parishioners.