Pacquiao fight no excuse to skip Mass, says bishop
MANILA, Philippines—Do not skip Mass on Palm Sunday just to watch the rematch between Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr., the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines reminded the Catholic faithful Saturday.
According to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the CBCP president, watching Pacquiao’s fight is not an excuse to skip Sunday Mass.
“There are many Mass schedules, anyway,” he said in an interview. “And I think the good Catholics will not choose watching a boxing match on TV over attending Mass especially during the Holy Week.”
Palm Sunday, the start of the most solemn period of Holy Week, recalls Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem days before he suffered and died on the cross.
Fr. Cris Magbitang, who celebrates Mass at the Sto. Niño de Taguig Parish, agreed with Villegas that most Catholic faithful would give more importance to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist than watching a boxing match.
“During the past boxing fights of Pacquiao, many churchgoers would attend the early morning Masses,” he said.
“Some people still attend the Mass scheduled before lunch, maybe because most of them are not watching the pay-per-view fight anyway, so they just catch the delayed telecast. Others go to Mass in the afternoon just after the fight. So people still participate in the celebration,” Magbitang added.
“Even those people who serve during the Mass, I have not encountered any of them changing their assigned schedule just because he or she wants to watch Pacquiao’s fight,” he said.
Most churches hold several Masses on Sundays.
Time seems to stand still for many Filipinos whenever Pacquiao fights. It has also been observed that crime rates dramatically drop whenever Pacquiao fights.
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