CEBU CITY – All of the Augustinian friars and their personnel are now undergoing quarantine after suspected cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were detected inside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent on Monday last week.
“We have already conducted a swab test to all friars and personnel staying at the convent of the Basilica del Sto. Niño Community through the help of the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD),” Fr. Andres Rivera Jr., Order of St. Augustine (OSA)-Cebu prior provincial, said in a statement released on Saturday.
Rivera said the friars decided that the “basilica church will still remain temporarily closed to the public until further notice” amid the latest occurrence.
He added that devotees of the Señor Santo Niño de Cebu are, however, encouraged to take part in the online mass via the Basilica’s official Facebook page.
The friars are constantly coordinating with the CCHD and the village officials of Barangay Sto. Niño.
“With their help and guidance, we ensure the public that everything is properly managed and there shall be no cause for further alarm and distress,” Rivera said.
He added the Augustinian community in Cebu entrusted their fate to the “Risen Lord and ask our beloved Señor Santo Niño de Cebu to strengthen us in this fight against the Covid-19 while mindfully following all the directives and guidelines from our medical experts and government leaders.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also posted on its official website about the confirmed Covid-19 cases in the historical Basilica in this city.
The Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú (Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu) was founded in 1565 by Fray Andrés de Urdaneta and Fray Diego de Herrera, who were both friars of the OSA.
One of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the country, it is built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was found during the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi. John Rey Saavedra /PNA – northboundasia.com