‘Church was able to respond quickly to COVID because of protocols in place’

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Father Mike Crisostomo, pastor for St. Anthony's Church and Vicar of Clergy for the Agana Archdiocese, said that the church was able to respond quickly thanks to the protocols it put in place with the help of Guam Public Health. (PNC file photo)

Catholic churches across the island closed because a clergyman tested positive for COVID-19.

The Archdiocese of Agana announced that a member of the clergy of Saint Anthony’s Church in Tamuning tested positive for covid.

In response, the church was closed for two days of deep cleaning and sanitization. The church is scheduled to reopen tomorrow.

Father Mike Crisostomo, pastor for St. Anthony’s Church and Vicar of Clergy for the Agana Archdiocese, told K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday morning that the church was able to respond quickly thanks to the protocols it put in place with the help of Guam Public Health.

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“We thought having our church sanitized and wearing our masks and doing all that stuff would…we would not have cases. But as it is now we are dealing with it and I’m glad and very thankful for our commission that put together the protocols. Because now we know what to do. Now we know how to react and how we’ll be able to respond to it. And it’s been a learning experience. And I’m just grateful for the team that has been put together,” Fr. Crisostomo said.

Five other churches closed temporarily as well. Those were the churches in Maina, Piti, Santa Rita, Toto, and Yigo.

They closed because their pastors celebrated mass with the St. Anthony’s clergyman who tested positive.

Those Masses were the 9 a.m. Mass in Piti and the 11 a.m. Mass in Tamuning. The Toto pastor celebrated funeral Mass with the St. Anthony’s clergyman on Monday.

The chancery was also closed. The chancery and all but one of the churches will reopen tomorrow.

The Santa Rita church will hold no regular Masses Friday and Saturday morning but Friday funerals will proceed.

Most of the clergymen were present at the ordination of a new priest that was held at the Agana Cathedral on Saturday. The clergyman who tested positive was also present.

Crisostomo says the Archdiocese put out a news release as soon as it could to try and control the spread. He urges parishioners to monitor themselves for symptoms.

“We could not sit on this information and let it prolong and let it go on any further. We had to tell our people and we tried to do as much as we could as soon as we had all the information, we had to send the press release out both for the Archdiocese and our individual parishes. And send the information out to our people. Those of you who were there…please monitor yourselves..check your signs and symptoms and if you are feeling sick, contact your doctor immediately,” Fr. Crisostomo said.

The Archdiocese contract tracing team is continuing its work on the case.

The Archbishop asks for prayers for the full and speedy recovery of the clergyman who tested positive as well as other members of the community who have the virus.

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