THERE will be no mass to be celebrated in Visayas and Mindanao during the five-day 2nd National Congress of the Clergy (NCC II), which is slated on January 25 to 29, 2009.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said most of the Churches in these regions will be sending all their priests to the event that is why no masses will be held on those dates.

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“Walang tao e, nandito lahat sila. Ang usapan because there are dioceses were 100 percent of the priests will be here together with the bishops talagang walang maiiwan,” he said.

But the prelate said the Eucharistic Ministers of the parish may give communion and the blessing of the dead (funeral mass).

In the case of wedding ceremonies, Rosales said the same thing will happen since there are no priests available. “There will be no weddings in the said regions particularly on the parish that have no priest.”

Meanwhile, Rosales is not worried that the masses in the weekend will be affected since the meeting will be held from Monday to Friday.

“..Hindi naman aabutin ng Linggo e… January 25 to 29, Monday to Friday Saturday they can fly home na,” he explained.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), which is under the Archdiocese of Manila, masses from Monday to Friday will be held in the morning so that the priests can attend the meeting in the afternoon.

The NCC II is going to be held at the World Trade Center along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.

Organizers of the event are expecting more than 5,000 priests all over the country to attend the meeting.

The event will more towards moral, pastoral and spiritual concerns and the Congress will be conducted “retreat-style.”

The dynamics of the retreat-congress involves prayers and liturgy, conferences, group reflection and journal writing, and the encounter with host and families.

The attendees will be housed in parishes, seminaries, inns, and in homes of families in Pasig, Makati, San Juan, Pasay, Cubao, Mandaluyong, and Manila.

There are some 1,500 families who will serve as hosts to the same number of priests.

For the Luzon priests, Cardinal Rosales said that some of them will be shuttling to and from the venue, or depending on the distance of their churches, so that they can attend to their duties.

“For example from Tagaytay they leave early in the morning then they leave in evening. Ang Bulacan ganun din…’yung iba mag-commute na lang sila..,” he added.

Lastly, the Manila Archbishop is hoping the faithful would understand that priests need their time to be alone too.

“It’s time for parishioners to realize that we priests also need some quiet time with ourselves..,” he explained.

The first national congress of the clergy was held in July 2004, which drew some 4,000 participants.

This year’s event is organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through its Commission on the Clergy. (FP/Sunnex)