Three Churches in Metro Manila have been placed on lockdown after a parish priest, a visiting priest and staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The affected Catholic Churches were the Santisima Trinidad Parish in Malate, Manila, the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Quezon City and the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as Quiapo Church.
In a statement posted on the parish Facebook page on June 26, Santisima Trinidad Parish Priest Fr. Jojo Buenafe said they decided to temporarily close the Church after he and a staff member have tested positive for the disease.
“Beloved parishioners, in an unexpected event, this your humble servant and Kuya Homer Sunga, our convent staff member, were afflicted with the Covid-19,” Buenafe said in his statement in Filipino.
“I am recuperating in my room away from my convent companions who are on voluntary quarantine and have shown no symptoms. Kuya Homer is confined and recuperating at San Juan de Dios Hospital,” he said
The Catholic priest added that they have coordinated with the barangay leader and the Archdiocese of Manila regarding the matter based on the government and Church protocols.
“We are also contacting the Ministry on Health Services of the Archdiocese of Manila for our medical needs,” he said.
Buenafe added that they temporarily closed the Church and its office to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
He said that contact tracing has been conducted with the people they have mingled with.
He asked the faithful for their patience, and requested to pray for them “for our quick recovery and so they could overcome their trial.”
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish
Meanwhile, the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Quezon City has decided to close for two weeks after one of its parish office staff tested positive for Covid-19 on June 26.
“It is with deep regret that we announce the temporary lockdown starting June 26 of our Parish Church for at least two weeks. This temporary measure has been immediately decided and implemented, in addition to subsequent swab testing of parish personnel, for the protection of everyone,” an announcement from the parish’s Facebook page read.
The parish is scheduled for disinfection and assured the faithful that online Masses will continue during the two-week lockdown.
Quiapo Church has been placed under lockdown after a priest from Mindanao was tested positive for Covid-19.
Rev. Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist Parish, the canonical name of the Church, said devotees were not allowed inside the Church since June 19, the day the priest, who was not identified, had tested positive for the disease.
“To be safe and to prevent [the spread of the coronavirus], we stopped allowing people inside. We don’t know where he [the priest] got it or the virus might still be there [in the Church]. So to ensure the public is safe, we decided to close the Church,” Badong said in an interview.
He said the priest from the southern part of the country was stranded in Manila and stayed at the Minor Basilica after the government implemented the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon last March.
Badong added that the priest left for Mindanao on June 13 and they learned he tested positive for the virus after six days.
“When he reached his destination he was tested positive both through rapid and swab tests. We found this out on June 19,” he said.
He added that the Quiapo Church is being disinfected and all its staff are under quarantine.
“We stopped the operations although the online Mass continued,” he said. “We continue to monitor ourselves and so far we don’t have symptoms. Last Wednesday we underwent rapid testing and all of us have tested negative.”
The lockdown ended on July 4.
Last Sunday, Badong said they learned that the priest from Mindanao is now coronavirus free.
“He recovered fast, [the priest said in] his text message,” Badong added. Lyn Resurreccion and PNA
Image credits: Santisima Trinidad Parish Facebook page