ORGANIZERS of the feast of Sto. Niño at the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague chapel in Shrine Hills, Matina in Davao City has canceled its Holy Mass activities this Friday, January 15, due to the threat of a Covid-19 transmission.
In a text message on January 13, Holy Infant chapel management confirmed to SunStar Davao that organizers of the feast canceled all masses and the entire church compound will be closed to the public on that day. It will resume operations the next day.
The management also said that there will also be no scheduled online masses for the feast.
Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head Angel Sumagaysay also confirmed to SunStar Davao the upcoming Holy Mass in celebration is canceled to avoid mass gathering as the city continues to face the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Nag-usap na kami ng Shrine management at yung owner because mihangyo ta nga kung pwede wala nay masses nga himuon karong January 15 (We already talked to the Shrine management and we asked them to cancel all scheduled masses on January 15)," Sumagaysay said in an phone interview.
Sumagaysay said this was based upon the recommendation of the Infectious Disease Specialist to the Davao City government. The specialist said the event might be a "superspreader" considering that minimum health protocols will most likely not be properly observed.
He said the city thanked the event organizer for immediately heeding the call of the government.
The city official said they will be placing tarpaulins on the gate of the church and along Shrine Hills Road, reminding the cancelation of the feast.
He also reminded devotees to stay home and offer their prayers within their residences.
"With the current Covid-19 situation sa city, might as well i-cancel na lang ni. Iba ang panahon ron. Unta masabtan sa tao because naga-surge ta (we might as well cancel it because the current situation deemed it necessary. I hope the public would understand because our cases are surging)," Sumagaysay said.
In a previous report, event organizers said the traditional fiesta is being attended by around 30,000 to 50,000 devotees not only from the city but also from neighboring provinces.
Prior to its cancellation, PSSCC already coordinated with the church and event organizer and they agreed that all traditional activities will be skipped and only Holy Masses will be conducted.
He said the event organizers had prepared five masses from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on that day, where a two-hour interval will be imposed to give way to the entry and exit of devotees. (RGL)