Couples queue for a free mass wedding in Manila. File
"Lavish" weddings have been banned from the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Manila as part of the "new normal" arising from the adoption of new protocols to enable the faithful to cope with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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In a seven-page protocol, Monsignor Broderick Pabilio, the Manila auxiliary bishop, announced they would accept "only simple wedding" with no bridesmaids and a limited number of guests.
Pabilio said they would implement such protocols once the enhanced community quarantine (EQC) or lockdown in Metro Manila, composed of 16 cities and one town, has been lifted in favour of a general community quarantine (GCQ) in which the rules are more relaxed like the opening of commercial establishments and the resumption of public utility vehicles such as buses.
On the other hand, lockdown limits the movement of people who are ordered to stay at home and allowed only to go out for emergency errands like purchase of basic food and essential medicines.
Grooms hold brides' dress during a mass wedding ceremony in Manila. AFP
"We will allow only simple weddings this year with only the bride and the groom with one set of sponsors and the presence of the immediate family members. No other wedding entourage," explained Pabillo in a mix of Filipino and English as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Manila once headed by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle who has just been promoted by Pope Francis as cardinal bishop.
The archdiocese of Manila overs all Catholic churches in Metro Manila particularly the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Makati and San Juan.
Typically, a wedding entourage consists of at least three pairs of principal sponsors, secondary sponsors, a maid of honor and best man, three pairs of bridesmaids and groomsmen, three bearers (ring, coin and bible) and flower girls.
Under the new protocols, Pabilio added also banned are "lavish" baptism or christening ceremonies with limited guests to include only parents and just one set of godparents per child.
"If there are many to be baptized," Pabilio said, "the children to be baptized can be organised by smaller batches. Let the parishes allow baptisms to be celebrated during set times on weekdays to decongest baptisms on Sundays."
The same is true for funerals, pointing out they would not accept mortuary services from the faithful with "many days of wakes," Pabillo said as he explained: "These days, the shorter the wake, the better."
In this light, the bishop said that for funerals, only the immediate family of the deceased would be allowed inside the church to hear Mass. If a Mass had already been done during the wake, he said the family should no longer bring their dead to the church.
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