DUE to the lingering threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu yesterday cancelled all novena masses for this year’s Fiesta Señor commemoration.
In a statement, Santo Niño Basilica Rector Fr. Pacifico Nohara said there will be no more public masses for the remainder of the novena masses as well as the fiesta mass on January 17.
The Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño, located in Cebu City, was founded by the Spaniards headed in 1565.
“Having this situation in mind and, moreover, reminded by Christian morals that the utmost goal of the church is to bring each and every Christian to an integral salvation, not only of the soul but also of the body, which includes our health and well-being, we decided to cancel all public masses in the Basilica and to continue to celebrate through virtual or online as scheduled,” said Nohara.
“As this change in our celebration may bring sadness to many of us, the situation has called for us to rise above the situation and to choose this course of action for the common good and benefit of all,” he added.
The priest said the decision comes as they are concerned over the possibility of the coronavirus spreading among churchgoers and devotees of the image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu.
“At present, it has been a tough challenge for the Basilica administrators with the government and private agencies to manage the flock of devotees and pilgrims at the Basilica in our simplified celebration of the novena and the upcoming feast,” said Nohara.
“For four days, we have observed that the surge of people coming to venerate and celebrate the novena masses has brought us into a conclusion that a greater action should be done to prevent us from the virus,” he also said.
And with the decision, the church official appealed for the understanding of devotees and asked them to continue attending the novena masses, albeit virtually.