By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Diocese of Bacolod is asking the Bacolod City government to shorten the current curfew hours, as it prepares for the early morning Aguinaldo masses or “Simbang Gabi” next month.
In a letter signed by Diocese of Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon addressed to Mayor Evelio Leonardia, he is urging that the current existing curfew hours be reviewed in order to accommodate the traditional Aguinaldo masses.
Buzon suggested in his letter that the curfew hours be shortened to 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. in order for the diocese to offer more early morning masses that could reasonably accommodate churchgoers and at the same time prevent overcrowding.
Under Buzon’s proposal, they can schedule a 3:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Aguinaldo masses, and pointed out that in these difficult times, the people need more than ever the Christmas spirit and the Yuletide cheer.
In response to Buzon’s letter, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the bishop’s request had been forwarded to city councilor Archie Baribar, who was the author of the city’s current curfew ordinance.
Although he doesn’t want to preempt the collective decision of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), Familiaran said he agrees with Buzon’s request since they expect that the city would already be under the less restrictive modified general community quarantine next month, and as long as the diocese will maintain the current health protocols such as social distancing and requiring churchgoers to wear face masks and face shields.
The Aguinaldo masses, which are held at dawn, is an old Filipino tradition and is observed from December 16 until Christmas Eve on December 24./DGB, WDJ