In Metro Manila and throughout the country, cemeteries will be closed from October 29 to November 4, to avoid gatherings of large crowds. Msgr Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Manila, has released a pastoral letter in which he asks the faithful to follow and abide by the rules set by the government. Faithful advised to offer a mass and pray as a family for the dead, sharing memories of the dearly departed. At present in the Philippines there are 299,361 Covid positive cases, with 5,196 deaths.
Manila (AsiaNews) - In the fight against Covid, the Philippine government has issued some guidelines that include a ban on visiting cemeteries on November 2, when the Catholic Church commemorates all the faithful departed. Msgr Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Manila, has released a pastoral letter in which he asks the faithful to follow and abide by the rules set by the government.
Filipino culture gives great importance to the cult of the dead and the liturgical commemoration of the faithful departed brings millions of people to visit the graves and pray for the dead between 1 and 2 November.
“A few weeks ago, the mayors of Metro Manila came out with a resolution to close the public cemeteries from October 31 to November 3 this year to avoid large crowds congregating and thus spread the Corona 19 virus. This was extended nation-wide by the IATF resolution 72 which came out on September 15. It states: “All public and private cemeteries, and memorial parks, including columbariums and the like throughout the country shall be closed to visitors from October 29 to November 4, 2020.” I enjoin everyone to cooperate,” said Bishop Pabillo on his pastoral letter.
He points out that the Catholic Church wants to follow that resolution to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. At present in the Philippines there are 299,361 Covid positive cases, with 5,196 deaths.
Archbishop Pabillo suggests that for this year, to honor the dead, the Filipino faithful could instead offer a mass and find time to gather as a family and pray for them. Instead of going to the cemeteries on November 1 and 2, we can also set aside time together as a family in our homes and pray for those who have gone ahead of us. It is a good and holy thought to pray for the dead. It would also be good if we can share with the family members our recollections about our beloved dead so that their memory can bind us closer to each other.”
The prelate expressed appreciation for the decision of Metro Manila's political leaders, saying it is a good thing to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
He also reminded everyone that 1st and 2nd of November is not the only time to commemorate our departed loved-ones. “That can have a solution by coming to the cemetery, not necessarily on November 1 and November 2 so maybe before… or the whole month of November. Ang mahalaga maalala natin sila at ipagdadasal natin sila (What’s important is we remembered them and we will pray for them),” said by Bishop Pabillo over an interview by the Church-run radio station Radio Veritas.
Last July, the bishop of Manila contracted the said disease but is asymptomatic. He was announced COVID-free during the first week of August after two-week quarantine.