The Diocese of Novaliches in Quezon City on Friday decided not to allow its 50 seminarians to go back to their respective seminaries under the diocese due to the risks posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In an interview with church-run Radio Veritas, Bishop Roberto Gaa said they do not want to risk the lives of the seminarians as Covid-19 cases in the country continue to increase.
“The risk is too high since we haven’t controlled the virus yet. What if one is infected? Because the engagement is intense, the risk is very high. Not only the infection. If it gets critical, who will answer to that? I can’t accept that I will put even one life at risk. I am not willing to put anybody at risk,” Gaa said.
The diocesan seminarians are enrolled at the St. Vincent, Immaculate Conception, San Carlos, and San Jose seminaries.
“I’ve decided not to allow them to return. We can wait for another year. We’re not in a hurry. What is more important now is mabuhay (to live). All of them will be under distant learning from their homes,” he added.
Gaa said they do not want the church, the parish, and the diocese to be the reason for more people to be infected with the deadly virus.
Before he was appointed as Novaliches bishop, Gaa served as rector of Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati City.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission for Seminaries (CBCP-ECS), headed by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, issued guidelines, including the strict implementation of health protocols.
He said seminary administration under the leadership of bishops should follow the guidelines set by the government.
Among the recommendations of the commission is for classes in the seminaries not to open simultaneously.
Covid-19 infections in the country have reached 98,232, with another record single-day increase of 4,963 new cases reported on Saturday. (PNA)