In preparation for the “new normal” should Metro Manila be eased out of lockdown, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines released a set of revised guidelines for all religious services last May 6, 2020. These new set of rules will be implemented in order to ensure the safety of all churchgoers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Included is the removal of the "abays" or entourage for all weddings to be held in Manila Catholic churches this year. “We allow only simple weddings this year, with only the bride and the groom with one set of sponsors and the immediate family,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the administrator of Manila, explained. “No best man and bridesmaid for the meantime.”
In other words, couples looking to push through with their nuptials this 2020 may have to pivot their plans and settle for a barebones ceremony, at least for the time being.
The measures are temporary, of course, but whether they’ll be lifted come 2021 remains uncertain.
For the holy eucharist, mass goers are required to wear face masks at all times, while hand holding during the singing of Our Father has been scrapped. The touching and wiping of religious images are also not allowed. Meanwhile, children and the elderly have been advised to stay home and not attend mass altogether.
As for baptisms, “only the parents and one set of godparents will be allowed for every baptismal candidate,” writes the CBCP News.
Attendance in funerals will also be limited to the immediate family during mass.