Philippine bishop sees quarantine as time to reconnect with God, not binge on Netflix

Archbishop Santos notes that forced isolation should be an opportunity to enhance one’s understanding of the Lord. Fasting and abstaining are important acts of self-denial during Lent. The Archdiocese of Cebu makes the International Eucharistic Congress Center available for COVID-19 patients. The outbreak is spreading in the country.

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) – Time spent at home quarantined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Philippines as well as most of the world, can be used to reconnect with God, not “binge-watching your favourite shows on television or Netflix,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, capital of Bataan province, central Luzon.

For the prelate, the faithful should take advantage of their forced isolation to read the Bible and deepen their understanding of the Lord.

People, especially young people, should dedicate more time to reading books that can boost the spirit than spend time on Internet platforms and social media.

"Having too much free time these days will enable us to give so much time to God” instead of one’s favourite TV shows.

Fasting or abstaining from something one likes is an important form of self-denial during Lent, as well as one of the most important Christian practices. The isolation imposed by the coronavirus crisis is “timely for this season of suffering and self-restraint.”

Staying home “provides us the time to be in the wilderness like Jesus, immersed in moments of solitude and prayers,” Santos explained. “Let us dedicate the remaining days of Lent to purify ourselves and offer our works of charity and devotion to God by helping those who are in need,” he added.

In order to respond to the crises triggered by the pandemic, the Philippine Church has undertaken several charitable initiatives.

In Cebu, the Archdiocese has made the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) Center available for people showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Formerly known as the IEC Pavilion, the facility is now serving as a COVID-19 care and quarantine facility.

 “Now, its doors are to be opened,” Caritas Cebu noted. Now it, thanks to “the kindness and generosity of some people in Cebu” it can “become a haven of hope and healing.”

“The venue that used to hold the teachings on the Eucharist will now become a place of concretizing that bread being broken and shared to those in need in time of this COVID-19 pandemic,” read the statement of the Catholic charity.

The San Carlos Seminary will also serve as a “drop-off area” for needed medical supplies and equipment.

According to the latest information, the Philippines has 2,311 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus with 96 deaths and 50 officially healed.

Of 2,165 active cases, only one is critical. However, experts warn that the toll is rising and the situation may get worse in the coming weeks.