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In Philippines, no handshakes during Sign of Peace as coronavirus fears grow


The Catholic Church issued guidelines to stem the spread of the disease.

In response to the threat from the coronavirus, the Philippine Catholic Church issued guidelines advising churchgoers to refrain from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace and holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.

The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines in its circular to all bishops and diocesan administrators advised the taking of measures to prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease, and urged everyone to pray as one nation for all those who are suffering brought by the disease:

“As the world watches with anxiety and vigilance the spread of the 2019 Novel Corona Virus (2019-N Cov), we turn to you our Loving Father in heaven for protection and guidance. Acting upon the instruction of ABp. Romulo G. Valles, CBCP President, we are issuing these guidelines and Oratio Imperata on 2019- N Cov so that we can as a Church and a nation, bring our supplication through prayer.”

The Circular was released last January 29 whereby all parishes were urged to pray the Oratio Imperata in all weekday and Sunday Masses after communion starting February 2, 2020, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. 

The following measures were recommended to prevent the spread of the deadly virus: the faithful should practice communion by hand, refrain from holding hands during the praying of the Our Father and from shaking hands during the Sign of Peace. Parishes are also urged to check and replace the Holy Water from their Holy Water Fonts and to install protective cloth on the grills of their confessionals.  Offering of special prayers and penitential processions were to be organized by the parishes, churches and chapels dedicated to St. Raphael and St. Roch/Roque  known as patrons in times of pestilence and experience of incurable diseases.

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