TACLOBAN City, Aug. 15, 2016 – With Sto. Niño Church, an iconic landmark in Tacloban, finding itself a PokéStop with players lining up outside the parish fence to “catch them all”, a priest reminded gamers to come to church for the right reasons.
“They should use their time and energy productively and not waste their precious time and [they] should go to church for right reasons,” said Fr. Ronel Taboso, parish priest of Sto. Niño Church.
The priest explained that while he may have words of advice for players who have since been frequenting the church to hunt for Pokémon, they are not banned from entering the church compound.
Not a playground
“No, we do not shoo them, since they are already outside the church,” said Taboso.
He nevertheless felt it incumbent upon the leaders of society to caution those who are so hooked on the online game.
Greeneth May Torres, a junior lector at the parish, on Aug. 11 posted on Facebook timeline: “Hahaha kakulop damot nakapila ha gawas hit Sto. Niño Church. Uy diri gad man murulayan hin pokemon go it simbahan. Alayon igpugung ito.. Gabay kamo manimba lugod” (Many people were lining up outside Sto. Niño Church. Hey! The church is not a playground for Pokémon. This should be stopped. Someone has to. You’d better go to church and pray instead).
Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, who also observed the noticeably large number of people standing daily by the roadside outside the Sto. Niño Church, cautioned the public about the game’s potential danger and the time wasted in locating Pokémon.
Churches, Pokémon stops
On Aug. 10, a lure party was staged by players near the vicinity of the church. Although it was not held during Mass, the significant number of players staying over for Pokémon and not to pray inside the church was eye-catching.
The location even doubled as a Pokémon gym, an arena where trainers engage their Pokémon in battles.
One female Pokémon player revealed there are two PokéStops in the immediate vicinity of the church.
She said Pokémon stops have been established in churches in other places not just in Tacloban City.
This is the reason why many youth hang around church vicinity, to set up lures and catch Pokémon, she explained.
Youth on the go
While other youth are in a frenzy over Pokémon, the youth ministry of Sto. Niño Parish has been actively participating in the various church programs, the most recent of which was a 30-minute flash mob at Robinson’s Place in this city.
Youth, lectors, and members of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) danced to a medley of 90s groove songs and more recent pop hits.
The activity was part of the Month of the Family celebration conceptualized by parish leaders led by Taboso and Fr. Wilson Chu.
This month, the youth in the parish also observed SNP’s Month of the Sick, headed by Fr. Fritz Del Pilar.
Notably, the parish youth will join the parish ministry pilgrimage to all the Holy Doors in the Archdiocese of Palo.
At the archdiocesan level, the youth are currently participating in the events connected to the visit of the International Pilgrim Cross of Mercy. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)