03/10/2020, 11.04
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Manila, Msgr. Pabillo calls for 'precautionary measures in a spirit of charity' against virus

The apostolic administrator of the Philippine capital publishes a pastoral letter on Covid-19. Catholics invited to "intensify our prayers, to ask for divine protection and intervention". "Parishes must be prepared for the economic effects of the phenomenon." The archdiocese of Singapore announces the resumption of public masses.


Manila (AsiaNews) - In the face of the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus in the world, “we should not spread unnecessary panic and fear. Let our attitude be compassion and care for others. Thus we need to take precautionary measures in the spirit of charity for all,” writes Msgr. Broderick Soncuaco Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese of Manila and president of the Commission for the laity of the Filipino Episcopal Conference (CBCP), in a pastoral letter published yesterday.

In the document, Msgr. Pabillo invites Catholics "I encourage all to intensify our prayers to ask for Divine protection and intervention. Faith can avert evil. While we pray, let us also exercise good stewardship over our health. In the spirit of Lent let us keep a healthy lifestyle so that our bodies may be strong enough to resist infections" The prelate then recalls some sanitation measures already in place, which churches and ecclesiastical institutions are required to respect to counter the spread of the virus.

The last recommendation concerns a particular consequence that the emergency is likely to have on the Catholic communities of the capital. “Let the parishes be prepared for the economic effects of the COVID 19 phenomenon. The worst case scenario would be the suspension of public gatherings. We need to save at this time of impending crisis. Let us make our church institutions resilient. At this time, let expenses be made only in what is essential in order to save for any eventualities. Let us suspend purchases on capital expenditures and make our programs frugal. What we can save, let us put in a Disaster Resiliency Fund. In this way, in case we have no collections, we may sustain the salaries of our employees maintain our religious institutions".

Archbishop Pabillo concludes the pastoral letter with an appeal: “While we take  precautions, let us take care of the sick in our families and communities. They are weak and vulnerable for infections. Let extra attention and care be given to them. Let us remember the words of Jesus: “I was sick and you take care of me.” (Mt 25:36) While we trust in the Lord and fall on our knees to beg for his mercy, let us also stand on our feet to act and wash our hands to keep ourselves fit to serve Him and His people. May Mary the Mother of the Sick and the Afflicted keep us under her protecting mantle”.

Despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the CBCP did not consider it necessary to suspend public masses. Instead, the archdiocese of Singapore had taken this measure, starting from last February 15. But five days ago, the Communications Office (ArchComm) announced that evening and Sunday services will resume on 14 (Saturday) and 15 March (Sunday), if all the churches have implemented the necessary precautionary measures. The archdiocese specifies that the resumption of Eucharistic celebrations is subject to government guidelines and provisions. Masses on weekdays will be resumed from March 16 (Monday).

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