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Philippine priest launches drive-in Masses

Catholics in Tacloban remain in their cars while attending Mass in novel bid to sidestep Covid-19

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Philippine priest launches drive-in Masses

A priest in Tacloban City in the Philippines is conducting drive-in Masses in a parish parking lot as a way of beating the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo: Unsplash)

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A parish in the Philippines’ eastern Visayas region has begun conducting drive-in Masses in the church parking lot to prevent the possible spread of Covid-19.

Father Kim Margallo of the Saint Jose Maria Escriva Mission Station in Tacloban City of Leyte province said he has set up an altar on a stage in the parking lot so that churchgoers can attend Mass in their cars without fear of getting the virus.

“The idea came to me when we had a sharp rise in Covid cases in Tacloban. We are not yet ready to ban celebrating Mass, hence this unique way of celebrating Mass inside cars,” he told reporters.

As of Sept. 14, health authorities in the province had recorded 3,826 coronavirus cases.

Father Margallo said clergymen like him should think of other ways “to bring Christ even closer to the people” amid the pandemic.

“The people of God need Christ closer, especially during these times. They need Jesus more today to give them hope and courage. If we do not give them the sacraments like Mass, to whom would they go?” the priest asked.

He said he believed churchgoers in the province had steadfast faith despite being afraid of the coronavirus.

“Many are afraid of the virus, so I took the initiative to let people attend Mass in such a way they could still be with the Lord, even if they are inside their cars,” Father Margallo said.

Churchgoers roll down their car windows during Communion and a lay minister approaches them to distribute the host.

Archbishop John Du of Palo in Leyte province has commended the initiative, saying priests should be more creative and innovative in bringing Christ to churchgoers.

“I always encourage priests to be more creative in giving the sacraments. I commend them for initiating creative evangelization and pastoral work in our parishes amid this health crisis,” he said.

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