Monday, 27 April 2020 06:02

Religious Services also a Frontline in COVID-19 pandemic

In his reflection called "Religious Services are Essential Services," posted on his Facebook account, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila emphasized the importance of Church services and identifying them as an important frontline during the outbreak of COVID-19.

The prelate explained that hope and resilience are strengthened and are received by the faithful through spiritual nourishment obtained in religious services. This makes it easier for them to manage fears and anxieties brought by the threats of coronavirus pandemic.

"At this time, after more than 5 weeks of being cooped up in our houses, and with the great uncertainly about our future, people need hope. They need the assurance of a benign higher power on whom they can depend in this time of uncertainty. This is given by religion, more so in the Philippines, where the people are very religious. Religion is very important for Filipinos. For the vast majority, it is faith that gives them strength especially in difficulties," he said.

Photo Credit: Most Holy Trinity Parish Facebook Page

Bishop Pabillo affirmed that, due to the current circumstances, the streaming services of Holy Mass is a good option for the faithful at the moment since the declaration of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Moreover, It is also a way for the faithful to continuously develop a connection with God in difficult times. 

"People turn to online masses and church services. They find in them great comfort and strength to carry on. These services give meaning to their struggles and assure them that they are not alone, that all these will pass away. There is a loving God in whom they can depend. All of these keep them spiritually strong and psychologically sane, even," he said.

The Bishops points out, however, that the actual services in Churches remain very important. He expressed his hope that after the quarantine period, the faithful would remain eager to go to Mass in the same way when they participate in the regular Sunday masses either online.  

"We cannot therefore say that religious services are peripheral to the people. They see them as essential, and the sign that things are going back to normal is when they are again able to go to church and attend the services. This will uplift their spirits to a great extent," he said. 

Following the "new normal" when the ECQ will be lifted, Bishop Pabillo stressed that the Church is willing to adhere to safety measures in order for policymakers to consider the Church to be open again for the faithful.

"So when the decision makers consider the essential services to be allowed, they should also consider the opening of the churches and its services as important. Of course, necessary precautions should be taken, like the proper social distancing and the sanitation practices to be done in the churches. We cannot also just go back to the old practices as before. Many things will also change in the way we do our services in the Church," he added. 

Bishop Pabillo also stated in his Post COVID Ministry II reflection that safety protocols and constant sanitation of the Churches will be implemented when there are Church gatherings or activities. 

On April 24, the national government declared an extension of the enhanced community quarantine starting May 1 until May 15. The National Capital Region is considered as one of the high-risk areas in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Hazel Boquiren/SOCOM-San Juan Nepomuceno)


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