Church wants to be included in easing of restrictions

Archdiocese of Agana (PNC file photo)

With restrictions eased on many businesses and government agencies, many of the island’s faithful are wondering when they’ll be able to attend services at their places of worship.

Churches weren’t included in the recently revised guidance as Guam “gradually reopens.”

Father Mike Crisostomo, the Pastor at St. Anthony’s Church, says he doesn’t understand why they can’t reopen if they abide by the same protocols as other organizations, especially since the church has taken extra measures to ensure the safety of its congregation.

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“Not just Catholic Churches, but all churches — houses of worship — we are very essential, and during this time when people are losing their jobs, businesses are closing, you hear about the suicide rate, they need their faith, they need the spiritual component. It’s essential, and we’re just asking the governor right now, ‘Governor, please open our churches.’ Help us, let us be partners with you,” Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo says he doesn’t consider the governor an enemy, but that he does hope she will change her mind on the matter.

Currently, worshippers can only attend Mass in church parking lots and remain in their cars during the service.

Krystal Paco San Agustin, the governor’s press secretary, said:  “As the Governor mentioned at last Friday’s press conference, some activities pose a greater risk of transmission than others, but we continue to work toward the lifting of restrictions. The data is being reviewed constantly and a number of options and safety protocols are being considered. We thank the community for its patience as we work to strike a reasonable balance between our spiritual well-being and our physical health.”