Due to the increasing crowd, the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño De Cebu has canceled all public Masses starting Tuesday until the feast of the child Jesus on January 17.
In a statement released Monday, the basilica’s Augustinian friars said the decision was made for the “common good and benefit of all”.
Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr., prior and rector of the centuries-old basilica, said the situation calls them to action to prevent coronavirus transmission.
For the past four days of the novena Masses, thousands of devotees flocked to the basilica despite threats of the COVID-19.
“The situation has called us to rise above the situation and to choose this course of action for the common good and benefit of all,” Nohara said.
According to him, protecting the health and well-being of the people is a matter of “Christian morals”.
“We ask for your great understanding and hoping that, with our hearts and minds attuned to God’s mercy to deliver us from the scourge of the pandemic, we can celebrate the entirety of the Fiesta Señor in God’s perfect time,” he said.
The priest invited devotees to join in the remaining novena masses and the feast day online through the church’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
However, the friars said the basilica and its compound would remain open for devotees who would want to visit.