Philippines plans to close cemeteries on All Souls’ Day

The Philippines government is planning to close cemeteries across the country on All Souls’ Day in November to prevent the possible spread of the new coronavirus disease.

The presidential palace has earlier announced that it will recommend the alternative cemetery visitation schemes for this year due to the pandemic.

Filipinos visit cemeteries en masse to visit their departed loved ones on Nov. 1 and 2 for the annual observance of All Souls’ Day.

In many parts of the country, cemeteries look like party places, prompting church leaders to remind the faithful that the day is supposed to be dedicated to the solemn remembrance of the dead.

Metro Manila mayors earlier announced that they decided to close cemeteries in their jurisdiction during the annual observance to prevent the mass gathering of people.

The Department of Health also said it is considering expanding the initiative to the whole country.

“What our Metro Manila mayors did is good practice,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

A general shot shows the Barangka Cemetery in Marikina, east of Manila on Oct. 31, 2016, on the eve of the traditional All Souls’ Day. (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP)

The City of Manila was the first to order the closure of its public and private cemeteries, columbariums and memorial parks from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.

The Archdiocese of Manila also urged the faithful to schedule the blessing of the tombs of their dear departed ahead of the annual observance.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, said the faithful can schedule the blessing of tombs with priests way ahead of All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day. He said priests are always available to bless the tombs and to celebrate Masses for the dead

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