CBCP urges prayer, fasting for coronavirus emergency

CBCP urges prayer, fasting for coronavirus emergency

Churchgoers wear protective masks during a Mass at the Cathedral Parish of Saint Andrew in Parañaque City on March 14. PATRICK DOMINICK ROMERO

By Roy Lagarde

March 14, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic hierarchy has called for a day of prayer and fasting to end of the coronavirus epidemic.

In a statement issued on March 13, the bishops’ collegial body exhorted the faithful to keep their faith firm during this “time of crisis”.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, the president of the bishops’ conference, particularly called for prayers for those who are infected with the COVID-19 and those who have died.

“This is a time of difficulty but also a time for growing in true discipleship as we strive to follow the Lord in selfless love and service of others,” Valles said.

“May He open our hearts to help those in need and move us to genuine compassion for our brothers and sisters who suffer,” he said.

The CBCP also recommended the cancellation or postponement of recollection, pilgrimages, conferences, processions and other mass gatherings.

Valles said that church authorities are morally obliged to cooperate and support all the precautionary measures recommended by the government for the people’s safety.

While several dioceses have suspended public Masses, he said that churches should be “kept open” for people who need to pray.

“We also encourage the bishops, religious and the clergy to spend time in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for the safety of our flock and the healing of the sick,” Valles said.

“We continue to minister to the sick by offering them the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick but following the necessary precautions proposed by the DOH,” he added.

The CBCP head also asked the country’s parishes for the daily ringing of church bells at 12 noon and 8:00 p.m. and pray the Oratio Imperata.

The archbishop also called on the faithful to face the crisis in the spirit of charity, especially for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Let us encourage our faithful to be open to the vulnerable, especially the poor, and share our resources with them,” he said.