Saturday, 21 March 2020 03:01

Pastoral Instruction: How to keep the Lord’s Day holy

My dear people of God in the Archdiocese of Manila,

We know the 3rd Commandment: You shall keep the Lord’s Day holy. In ordinary times we tend to believe that we have kept this commandment when we have attended Mass on Sunday. After the Mass, we do what we want with Sunday. In many cases it has ceased to become the Lord’s Day when we are done with the Sunday obligation to go to Mass. In fact, many times it has become MY Day.

In this special time of the Corona Virus, we are forced to rethink how to make the Lord’s Day holy, as we are forced to rethink many of our customary practices. Can I still make the Lord’s Day holy when I can no longer attend Mass? We all feel that the online Mass is not the same as the physical attendance to the Holy Mass. It is a very poor substitute. How then to keep the 3rd commandment?

To consider Sunday as the Lord’s Day is to keep it the Lord’s Day. It is not OUR day. It is the Day of the Lord Jesus. On Sunday we celebrate the greatest event of salvation, the Resurrection of Jesus. He has overcome evil and sin, and even death! It is a day then that we turn our attention to Jesus. During all the days of the week we have been concerned about ourselves – our job, our home, our school work, our friends. On Sunday we turn our attention to the Lord. Thus we participate in his victory over death by the celebration of the Eucharist and by paying attention to the other important things in life which otherwise are crowded out in the day-to-day concerns. Thus we take time to nourish our faith by prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. We pay attention to our family. Sunday is often the family bonding day. Another way to keep the Lord’s Day holy is to set aside time to serve others in the community. To serve others is to serve the Lord.

During the coming weeks, we will not be able to come to the Holy Mass physically nor serve in church, but there are still other things that we can do. We can have greater bonding with our family members. Thus it is good to participate in the online Mass as a family. Then we can take time to pray together, especially the family rosary, and even to read the Word of God together. Some families are helped to deepen their relationship when they have Bible sharing as a family. Since we are just at home we can have some family games or storytelling. These moments of laughter and jest will ease our boredom and will be treasured by all, young and old alike, later on.

We cannot go out to serve the Church or the community these quarantine days. Can we not set aside some amount on Sunday and give to the poor and the daily wage earners around us? If each family gives some food or some money to one or two other persons on Sunday in their vicinity, we would be helping many people as church and be spreading the joy of the Lord’s Day to them. 

Dear friends, let us keep the Lord’s Day holy in our homes even in these extraordinary times. Let not the COVID 19 steal the joy of Sunday from us. Let us offer our Sundays to the Lord by our prayers as a family, by enjoying our love for each other, and by going out of our way to help one or two needy persons around us.

May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph be with us and protect our families.


Yours truly in Christ,

+ BRODERICK PABILLO Apostolic Administrator of Manila

21 March 2020





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