As by now the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to improve, Cardinal John TONG, on the recommendation of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission, the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, the Board of Diocesan Consultors and medical professionals, has decided to make special arrangements for the reception of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, as follows:
I. Sacraments of Christian Initiation for Adults
Even though the pandemic has eased by now, it has, over the past few months, considerably impeded the normal preparations for the celebration of Christian initiation for adults, originally scheduled for coming Pentecost (May 31). Therefore, it is fitting that this celebration be further postponed. Accordingly, parishes can adjust the related arrangements as indicated below:
a. Timely resumption of the regular catechumenal gatherings (in small groups, if necessary).
b. Parish Priests to interview the candidates for baptism.
c. Ensuring that the candidates for baptism have learnt the rudiments of Christian spirituality, including daily prayers and participating in Sunday Masses.
- Celebration of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation
a. After the resumption of public Sunday Masses, the Election (Enrollment of Names)with the Scrutiny (once only) is to be held (in small groups, if necessary) [Rites to be provided by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission] .
b. Celebration of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation for adults on any Sunday before the Solemnity of Christ the King [simplified Rite to be provided by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission].
As a gesture of welcome extended to all the newly baptized and as an expression of the close relationship and communion between them and the ecclesial community, a special Mass to be participated by them will be held this year on the Solemnity of Christ the King at the Cathedral.
II. Infant Baptism and the Full Reception of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation by Children and Teenagers
- After the resumption of public Sunday Masses, parishes may administer baptism to infants (in small groups, if necessary) on any Sunday, provided that the Catholic parents and godparents have been duly instructed.
- Provided that they have been duly instructed, Sunday School children and teenagers (in small groups, if necessary) who were originally scheduled to receive Confirmation and First Holy Communion this year may, on any Sunday before the Solemnity of Christ the King, receive those sacraments, so as to complete Christian Initiation. Cardinal John TONG has granted the faculty for administering Confirmation to every parish priest during this year, to be exercised under the special circumstances of the pandemic [simplified Rite to be provided by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission].
Given at the Chancery Office,
8 May 2020.
Rev. Lawrence LEE