CEBU CITY – In what was described as a “saddening and heartbreaking” move, the Augustinian priests from the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño de Cebu on Monday decided to stop holding public Novena Masses of the Fiesta Señor 2021.
The last public Novena Mass was held last Monday. It was the fourth of the nine-day Novena Mass.
Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, spokesperson of the Basilica, said it has been observed that the number of devotees significantly increased as the Novena Masses progressed.
The Augustinian friars noted that the influx of attendees may increase the risk of the possible spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The remaining Novena Masses will continue but it will be done virtually or through online streaming.
According to the Augustinian friars, a total of 24,000 devotees attended the opening salvo Mass. As part of the Fiesta Señor, five Masses are held a day at the Basilica for nine straight days.
The city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) welcomed the decision of the church to stop the public physical Masses. (Calvin Cordova)