09/17/2020, 11.42
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Tacloban: A 'drive-in' mass against Covid infections

In the Eastern Visayas there is an increase in cases and people fear contracting the virus. Fr. Kim Margallo has devised a function to celebrate the Eucharist in the presence and in complete safety inside their cars. The bishop had asked the priests for "creative initiatives" aimed at "evangelization and pastoral care".


Manila (AsiaNews / Cbcp) - During the coronavirus emergency, which has led to the closure of churches and places of worship around the world, a Filipino priest has created a "drive-in" mass to allow the faithful to participate in complete safety ( in the picture). From the top of a platform built for the occasion, a few days ago Fr Kim Margallo observes and blesses his parishioners gathered inside about 25 cars parked in the parking lot below.

Inspired by the American open-air cinemas of the past, the priest celebrates the Eucharist for all Catholics who cannot attend mass in churches and parishes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to reap infections and victims even in the Philippines . Due to the growing number of cases in the Eastern Visayas, explains Fr. Margallo, people "are afraid to go to mass because they are afraid of contracting the virus".

According to updated data provided by the Ministry of Health, 3826 cases were registered in the region (with an increase of 67 in the last day), while those still active are 695. "I think it was the right time - he underlines - with the number of contagions of Covid-19 which has registered a surge [in Tacloban], people are afraid to leave home ".

Previously Msgr. John Du, Archbishop of Palo, had encouraged priests to find "creative initiatives aimed at evangelization and pastoral ministry in our parishes" in the face of an ever-growing threat. In this way, continues Fr. Margallo, families "can continue to participate in the Eucharist" gathered together "inside their cars". An innovative way to be a Church in the pandemic, without violating laws and regulations.

"During communion - he says - the participants in the mass remain inside their cars. They just have to roll down the windows and allow a layman to distribute communion to them”.

In May the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, also in Tacloban, had set up a “mobile confessional” to distribute the sacraments to people, especially the elderly and the sick. The priest is keen to point out that the place designated for masses and functions remains the church, however this new form of ministry will continue as long as the emergency remains high. "Even if we continue to broadcast our Masses online - he concludes - there is nothing better than physically participating in a Eucharistic celebration".

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