Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete is calling on the faithful to observe the health protocols against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to protect themselves and others while attending the Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo – the novena masses preceding Christmas Day.
The Simbang Gabi officially started night of Dec. 15 and will end on Dec. 23, while the first Misa de Gallo was at dawn on Dec. 16 and will end on Dec. 24.
Cortes, who celebrated Misa de Gallo at the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in Dumaguete City, highlighted the need to observe health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19, citing an influx of churchgoers attending the novena masses.
He said the people should turn to Jesus, with the aid of Mary, His mother, for protection and guidance.
“May we turn to Mother Mary, for just as she nurtured Jesus, may she also protect us from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual afflictions,” the bishop said in the dialect.
“May she also journey with us in facing life’s challenges such as hunger, unemployment, and uncertainties of the future,” he added.
In 2021, that is the Year of the Missio Ad Gentes (Mission to the Nations), the Dumaguete prelate said “Mahimo unta kita nga instrument sa pagpadayag sa atong pagtoo (we may become instruments of proclaiming our faith)”.
Cortes exhorted the people to become missionaries in their own homes and families as well as with neighbors who may have gone astray from Christ and the Church.
He asked the faithful to call those who wandered away back to the true faith.
“While we are still in the Advent Season and preparing for Christmas, let us dwell on God’s great love for us by giving His son, Jesus to us, and so let us offer ourselves, our families, and our communities as our gift to Him,” he said. “May we continue to unite and love one another so that justice and peace will prevail in our society,” he added.*PNA