Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan

​Unlike some dioceses in the Philippines, the Diocese of Kidapawan in North Cotabato will still allow the public celebration of the Holy Mass this despite the government’s recommendation to prohibit the staging of events, such as religious worship, that draw huge crowds, in an effort to stop the transmission of the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan released his circular letter advising priests, religious and laity of the diocese on certain guidelines to be observed in light of COVID-19.

“The celebration of the Holy Eucharist in all our churches shall continue even if the attendance is less or without the congregation,” the bishop said in his letter.

He also gave a dispensation, a permission to Catholics of the diocese not to attend our Sunday Masses on March 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 2020.  Attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation is an obligation to each baptized Catholic as spelled out in Catholic canon law.  He also exhorted those who are feeling unwell to refrain from attending Holy Masses and Liturgical Celebrations “until they are certain with their diagnosis.”

He, however, urged those unable to be physically present at Holy Mass to instead assist at Holy Mass via television, radio and internet, a similar advice given by his brother Filipino Roman Catholic bishops who cancelled all public celebrations of Masses in their respective diocese.

READ:  No public Masses in some areas of PH due to COVID-19

Bagaforo expressed his solidarity with the medical workers who are in the frontline of the ongoing war to defeat the deadly disease plaguing the world.

“We pray for our medical workers. I shall personally offer my 1st mass for all hospital and medical workers. That the Lord would continue to bless them with strength.. And spare them from any illness,” he said.

He also called upon priests to continue to do their spiritual duties to their sick flock while also being mindful of their own safety and well-being.

“I exhort all my priests never to decline the call to administer the sacrament of anointing of the Sick. It is at this time that our people need us the most and to observe the necessary precautions,”

“I call on our people to offer prayers for the end of this crisis and never to panic… Let us show each other kindness, mercy and charity. Magtulungan tayo at ipadama sa lahat ang ating malasakit,” he said.  (Rommel F. Lopez)