Archbishop Jose Cabantan of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro is filled with emotion after his installation at the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro in this file photo. (Photo courtesy by MindaNews/Froilan Gallardo)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — With six churches forced to shut down after their priests contracted Covid-19 while celebrating mass, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Jose Araneta Cabantan has warned the public that this is not the time to be complacent about the health crisis as places that are even so far away from the pandemic’s epicenter could be struck by the deadly disease.
Archbishop Cabantan announced the beginning of the closures April 27 to May 7 in a letter to all priests, religious and parishioners, saying that all religious activities would be suspended in the churches of the Santo Niño, Shrine of the Black Nazarene, Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, San Isidro Labrador, Our Lady of Candelaria, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Imaculada Concepcion.
The prelate enthused that the infections came as a shock as Mindanao is far from the pandemic’s epicenter in Manila.
“The infection of our priests was very unexpected, never thought of, never wished for,” he pointed out.
According to the archbishop, the six churches would be disinfected while the priests remain in isolation for at least 14 days until cleared by their doctors. Parishioners will also be tested for the virus.
“This is also a way of showing that we are at one with the people, the government and every other person or entity trying to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Archbishop Canbantan said that he and people working at his residence have also been placed under quarantine as a result of the outbreak.
“This is also a way of showing that we are at one with the people, the government, and every other person or entity trying to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Based on government statistics, Cagayan de Oro province has the most infections in Mindanao with a case total of 441 as of April 27, or an average daily increase of nine cases per day.
Archbishop Cabantan believed the priests contracted the virus from infected people while they were celebrating mass even though social distancing procedures were in place for the church services. (AI/MTVN)