Zamboanga bishop declares 40-day fasting, penitence amid Covid-19 surge
Bishop Moises Cuevas, apostolic administrator of Zamboanga.
By CBCP News
August 26, 2021
A Catholic bishop in southern Philippines announced a 40-day fasting and penitence as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic.
Bishop Moises Cuevas, the apostolic administrator of Zamboanga, made the declaration “in solidarity with those who suffer readily the effects of the pandemic”.
The days of fasting and penance will begin on Oct. 13 with the tolling of church bells across the archdiocese at 8pm followed by the praying of the rosary.
Cuevas said a catechesis on this period is to be held in the weeks preceding the penitential activities.
He also asked parishes to make available the Sacrament of Reconciliation for those who wish to engage in a spiritual and moral renewal.
The 40-day period will end on Nov. 21, Christ the King Sunday, with a “penitential walk” from the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to the Shrine of Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar to be joined by the clergy and religious of the archdiocese.
The declaration was contained in the bishop’s first pastoral letter released on Aug. 24, two weeks after Pope Francis appointed him as apostolic administrator of Zamboanga.
The archdiocese is also launching a program of “Catechesis on the Word of God”, in anticipation of the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23 next year.
Cuevas said this inter-parochial catechesis will be conducted online “as a way of accompanying our faithful and those who continuously seek refuge in the word of God in these trying times”.
The 47-year old bishop added that the archdiocese is creating “Gifted to Give Stations” in the parishes to continue helping the poor and destitute.
“There will be a continuous distribution of material goods to be organized in our parishes in ensuring that we respond appropriately and care for our brothers and sisters in need,” Cuevas added.
The activities, he said, will be spearheaded by the newly-established Archdiocesan Pandemic Management Office.
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