08/01/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Going to Sunday mass in shopping malls

by Santosh Digal
The archbishop of Manila allows religious services in shopping malls in order to meet the needs of those who shop on the day of rest or statutory holidays.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The faithful can now partake in Sunday mass and other rites on solemn occasions in the many shopping malls that dot the landscape of the Philippines, this according to Card Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila.

In granting permission the prelate stressed that the purpose of his decision is to meet the needs of thousands of farmers, peasants and rural residents who must go to town for their weekly shopping. This way they can take part in liturgical functions even if it is inside centres of commerce.

However, the archbishop made it quite clear that mass should be celebrated in real chapels or in places set aside for this purpose, even “in a quiet corner” where people can actively participate and fulfill their Sunday obligation, and where the spirit and the sanctity of the liturgy can be maintained.

In another attempt to accommodate religious practice to modern circumstances, Mgr Rosales said that televised Sunday mass must be viewed live, not recorded. Even if they do watch services on TV, able-bodied people should still attend mass; broadcast services are intended only those who are incapacitated, “the sick and the disabled.”

Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated only in churches and other places of worship, but starting in the 1950s, Church authorities began allowing Eucharistic celebrations in schools, to get children to participate.

Now mass in shopping malls has arrived in the Philippines because on week-ends and statutory holidays these places are literally invaded by hundreds of thousands of people.

On June 24 the diocese of Manila also issued dress code instructions for those who attend mass. The attire must be formal or semi-formal and must always be dignified. Caps, basketball jerseys, tank tops or jersey shorts or any suggestive clothing is out, especially for women.

For this reason, the diocese had posters printed, clearly showing the proper attire in church, for distribution in all parishes, chapels and shrines under the archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses.

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