Cebu archdiocese opens cemeteries to non-Catholics who died due to COVID-19

MANILA – The Archdiocese of Cebu has opened Roman Catholic cemeteries under its jurisdiction to non-Catholics who died due to COVID-19. 

In a circular dated August 27, Archbishop Jose Palma said that for instances when there no more vacant burial spaces for non-Catholics who died due to the novel coronavirus, the archdiocese is allowing their burial in Catholic cemeteries as an act of charity. 

“We are all aware of the rising COVID cases in Metro Cebu as well as in the Province recently,” Palma said. 

“Sadly, some of these severe cases have led to the untimely deaths of our loved ones and consequently, affecting the availability of burial slots in our cemeteries.” 

Last August, a local official in Cebu City acknowledged that they are running out of burial spaces due to rise in the number of deaths link to COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, Palma said “only time will tell” as to when this special permission will be abrogated due to the “extreme difficulty in giving a decent and dignified burial place for our dear departed during these pandemic times.”

“In order to be pastorally guided by this mandate, I suggest that proper consultations be made first with our competent ecclesiastical authorities when there are other issues and unforeseen circumstances that may arise on this matter,” the archbishop added. 

The Philippines is currently experiencing a sharp rise in coronavirus infections largely due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. 

As of Wednesday, September 1, the country already registered more than 2 million COVID-19 cases while death toll is at 33,533. 

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