Governor responds to request for ‘drive-in’ Mass from Archdiocese

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Archdiocese of Agana (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero is responding to the calls from Guam’s Catholic Churches, to allow outdoor Masses on-Island.

The Archdiocese of Agana had penned a letter last week, seeking guidance from the Governor and Public Health Director, Linda DeNorcey, on allowing a ‘drive-in’ option for Masses, among other requests.

DeNorcey denied the request for outdoor Mass.

The Governor today did not definitely deny or agree to the request, following up with K57 News Radio saying, “it has to be a disciplined and strict strategy in lifting restrictions based on science, case data and medical advice.”

Leon Guerrero says she, “doesn’t want to jeopardize the successes of our hard work, that got our community safe and where it is today in our battle.”

Father Michael Crisostomo, a member of the Archdiocese Liturgical Commissionspoke with K57’s Patti Arroyo about the letter.
He says the Church was requesting guidance on beginning a, “gradual re-entry of celebrating the sacrament.”

“Considering of course what’s going on, we also indicated, we will continue with precautionary measures, like social-distancing, sanitizing, good hygiene [etc],” said, Crisostomo.

“I think it’s key to know, that this would be a gradual return back to Church, it’s not an overnight thing.”
Drive-in Mass, according to Father Mike, would have people driving into the Church parking lot, remaining in their vehicle and the Priest would then celebrate Mass outdoors. Crisostomo said, “[the Priest] would be able to engage with the people there.”
Communion would be distributed according to the plan they’re eyeing.
“We don’t want to use hamburgers as a comparison to the Body of Christ, but if we can distribute hamburgers, why can’t we distribute Holy communion?”
As for which Churches and what parking lots, Crisostomo said, “if we were permitted to do this, it would be up to each Pastor to determine where they would do [the outdoor Mass], but we haven’t gotten to this point.”

Crisostomo says many Pastors have indicated their willingness to participate, “it’s just a matter of getting the green-light from the Government. Not that we need the government approval, but we’ve always worked in tandem with them.”

The Archdiocese is now weighing the possible ramifications of engaging in outdoor masses without government approval.

“We had a meeting yesterday with the Archbishop, and it’s really his call…and it’s a heavy burden on his plate.”

Crisostomo said it was never the Church’s intention for this to become a civil rights matter.
“We were looking for guidance and we’ve always complied with everything the government asked of us.”
Father Mike said everyone just wants to move forward and re-engage in their faith.

“The Church is ready. The People are ready. The Priests are ready. And, we’re hoping that the Government will say, yes we’re ready.”

Crisostomo said it’s not about the money for the Church, saying people are still donating despite the pandemic and social-isolation orders.
“In times of crisis, the people are giving, they come out [in support]. People are just asking to engage with their sacraments.”
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