Wednesday, 15 April 2020 16:19

Works of Charity Characterize Lent and Easter 2020

On the third part of his reflection entitled “Post COVID-19 Ministry”, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila, noted how during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila have been busy preparing not just for liturgical celebrations of Holy Week but also in helping the people who are most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the past month, most of the work of many parishes was not that of liturgical celebrations. Of course, we had to prepare our churches and ourselves for the online masses and other religious services. Those did not take much time,” Bishop Pabillo said.

“What took most of our time was organizing how to distribute the gift certificates (GCs) and in large part, the actual giving of the GCs to the poor families together with our volunteers and barangay officials. Some parishes also spent time packing rice and other goods to distribute to the people,” he added.

Photo Credit: San Roque de Manila Parish

According to the prelate, during this time of pandemic, the Church’s important expression of work is to help the poor. The Church, according to him, did its best to help people. In particular, he cited giving shelter to more than 440 street people in 8 facilities in the Archdiocese of Manila. There are also 510 medical frontliners who were given lodging in 23 parishes, schools, hostels and convents.

Aside from the housing and shelter offered, the Church also received help in the form of food items and sleeping materials from religious communities and generous parishioners. They were also able to distribute gift checks and food packs to more than 400,000 families in different parishes in the archdiocese.

As of April 14, 2020, Caritas Manila’s Oplan Damayan has released 1,367,495 gift certificates to 1,277,372 poor families.

Bishop Pabillo also stated in his reflection that even after the quarantine, the church should set up structures that should maintain its relationship with those who were helped as well as those who helped during the pandemic. He pointed out to the reality that even after May 1, when the ECQ is projected to be lifted, the virus will still be around so the need to contain it shall continue.

“After the quarantine days, it would not be right to just toss the street people back to the streets and to let the hospitals take care of their medical staff. We have to maintain the good will and the relationships that we have created with the beneficiaries, with the donors and with the administrations of various medical institutions,” he said.

Despite the situation, the Bishop reminds the priests in the archdiocese that apart from helping those affected by the quarantine, parishes should also fulfill their obligations to their staff. A careful planning should be made with their finance councils on how to make ends meet in the coming months.

“As we have decided at the start of the lock down, as much as possible we will not dismiss people from our workforce. If people are not able to work, it is not that they do not want to work. Everyone among us is a victim of these hard times,” he said.

As the faithful faces the hard times of the quarantine period, the Bishop asked them to be patient with the situation.

“As we try to help our parish and school personnel, let us also explain to them to be patient and not to demand the same treatment as before, as if nothing had happened,” he said.

“The challenge now is how to keep the morale of our people high in spite of the fact that we all face hard times. Let us all face this new situation with generosity and trust,” he added. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


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