OZAMIZ Archbishop Martin Jumoad said the turnout during last Sunday's Masses was lower than what they expected, coming from a prolonged absence of religious gatherings.
Catholic churches have been allowed to open in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), provided social distancing and other minimum health standards are complied with.
Jumoad told the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Ozamiz held Masses Sunday, May 17.
But only about 300 people attended Mass. The cathedral can accommodate around 1,500 people.
Jumoad blamed the low turnout on the prevailing fear of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
"People are afraid to come to church because of this pandemic," he said.
The archbishop, nevertheless, expressed hopes that the attendance will improve as days pass.
"It was good we did it, and we hope, next Sunday, church attendance will increase," said Jumoad.
The City of Ozamiz is under general community quarantine (GCQ) from May 16 to May 31. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)