The Manila Archdiocese announced that Filipino Catholics will no longer have to pay fixed rates for the administration of certain sacraments and for offering mass intentions beginning next month.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator, said that they will abolish the “arancel” or the system of charging fixed rates for baptism, confirmation and for offering mass intentions.
This will take effect on April 14, 2021 in all churches covered by the largest archdiocese in the country, namely the parishes in the cities of Manila, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong and San Juan.
Donations from the faithful in support of their church are still encouraged.
The initiative is a response to the pastoral letter on stewardship and the abolition of the arancel system which has been envisioned by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines reiterated this commitment in line with the celebration of the 500th year of the arrival of Christianity in the country.
“Let this be one of our legacies of our quincentennial celebration of the arrival of the Christian faith in our country,” Pabillo said in the decree.
Catholic Filipinos welcomed the initiative and hoped that it would apply to other parishes outside the Manila Archdiocese as well.
“Sana sa lahat na ng simbahan,” a Facebook user commented.
“Sana sa probinsiya din hahahaha,” another online user wrote.
“Malaking tulong na din ‘yan sa mga magulang. Magandang balita,” a different Filipino commented with smiling face emojis.
“Sana po sa buong Pilipinas ‘yan, ‘di sa Metro Manila lang,” another online user wrote.
Last month, Pabillo reminded parishioners that they could find meaning in their lives through prayer rather than money.
“The arancel was abolished so that it may no longer be a hindrance to accepting the grace of God. The people are generous to the needs of the Church, and that has been proven, especially during the pandemic,” he said in his homily during a mass in Binondo Church.
The Vatican last year issued an instruction urging parishes to make sacraments more accessible to the poor by not “commercializing” these and charging fees.