By Leslie Ann Aquino and Analou de Vera
There will be no public religious activities in the Archdiocese of Manila starting Monday, August 3, until August 14.
In a pastoral instruction, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila Broderick Pabillo said all churches and shrines in the archdiocese are reverting to protocols under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as their response to the call of medical frontliners for a “time out” amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
“All the churches and shrines in the Archdiocese of Manila will revert to the period of the ECQ protocols,” said Pabillo in a pastoral instruction titled, “We Hear the Call.”
However, Pabillo said that online religious activities will continue.
“We will use this time to evaluate our church response to the pandemic and see how we can improve them,” he said.
The prelate said that they support the appeal of the healthcare workers for a “time out.”
“Earlier today, more than 80 medical associations and societies have brought out a common open letter asking for a ‘time out’ for a period of two weeks, that is, an appeal to a return to the ECQ for the Greater Manila Area where the infections are most pronounced. We in the Church hear their call,” he said in a statement released late Saturday.
“We share the compassion of the medical frontliners for the many sick people being brought to our hospitals. We have witnessed their dedicated service to those who come to them. Many among them are tired and even discouraged by their heavy responsibilities. So, we support their appeal for a ‘time out,’” added Pabillo.
He said they understand that they called for this not only for their own respite, which they truly need, but to reassess the response that we, as a country, have to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“I see that the current responses are not working because cases are rising after four months and a half of quarantine. So, all the stakeholders really need this time to come together to evaluate and improve our approaches to fight this pandemic,” Pabillo said.
Thus, he said, “We will not hold public religious activities from August 3 to August 14 but we continue our online religious activities.”
The prelate asked the faithful to help stop the spread of the virus by taking seriously the health protocols to keep safe, such as the proper use of face masks, the required physical distancing, the frequent hand washing, and not going out of the house unless truly necessary.
Pabillo also appealed to the faithful to help those badly impacted by the pandemic.
“We all suffer from this pandemic economically. However, there are many families who are more badly impacted than others. So, we appeal for generosity,” he said.
“Let us give whatever we can, however little it may be, so that no one may suffer the pangs of hunger,” added Pabillo.
Finally, he asked the faithful to intensify their prayers that our “frontliners may be kept safe, that those who are sick may get well soon, and that all our families be protected from the virus.”
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