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“Kapag mayroon kayong pangangailangan, idulog niyo sa Diyos sa inyong mga panalangin.’ At yan po ang halimbawa sa atin ni San Felipe Neri. Siya po ay Santong masiyahin. Sabagay, wala naman talagang santong hindi masiyahin dahil ang kabanalan ay nagbibigay sa atin ng kagalakan. At walang iba, kundi kagalakan ni Hesus.” This was the message of Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila, during his homily in the fiesta Mass at San Felipe Neri Parish, Mandaluyong City.

Photo Credit: San Felipe Neri SOCOM

Bishop Pabillo pointed out that Saints were given to us by the Church to be our role model just like St. Philip Neri, who received many blessings from God.

The bishop underlined that the entrance point to holiness of St. Philip Neri was charity. He lived it out when he went out to help the poor people in Rome while at the same time evangelizing them.

“Sinabi ni Propeta Isaias, that ‘the Holy Spirit has anointed me to bring the good news to the poor, to bring freedom to the captives, to bring healing to the sick.’ ‘Yan ay talagang ginawa ni San Felipe Neri, ang entrance point niya sa trabaho sa simbahan ay ang mga mahihirap na ‘yan,” Bishop Pabillo said.               

St. Philip became attractive to the crowd regardless of his society status because of his joyful and humble character. Because of his traits, he was able to influence people to help others and to follow his ways. He reached the hearts of the people through his charitable works rooted in faith.

Photo Credit: San Felipe Neri SOCOM

In the homily, Bishop Pabillo also encouraged the faithful to give thanks to the Lord always, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We should find the goodness in the people and the situation.

“In all circumstances, give thanks to the Lord. ‘Yan yung kalooban ng Diyos at makakapagpasalamat tayo in all circumstances kahit na po ngayon sa corona virus sa pandemic na ito makakapagpasalamat tayo hanapin lamang natin ang kabutihan kasi sa lahat ng tao, sa lahat ng pangyayari, mayroon pong kabutihan dyan na makikta natin kung hahanapin lamang natin at mahahanap natin ang kabutihang iyan kapag tayo’y nagdadasal at nagdi-discern.”

Finally, Bishop Pabillo calls the faithful to be holy by having a joyful character just like St. Philip Neri. This we are able to do when we find God as the source of joy within us.

“Tumawag tayo kay San Felipe Neri habang sinisikap nating tularan siya, tumawag din tayo sa kanya. At ang ating patron sa langit ay patuloy pong nakikidasal at pinagdarasal tayo.” he said.

St. Philip Neri was born on July 21, 1515 and died on May 26, 1595. He is an Italian priest and one of the outstanding mystics during the Counter-Reformation and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory. He is the patron saint of the City of Rome and the Patron for those who seek for joy. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC) 

My dear people of God in the Archdiocese,


We, in the NCR, are now placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) but we

continue to appeal to the government to consider religious activities as essential

services to our people. There is no scientific basis at all to limit religious activities to

only 10 persons during the GCQ without considering the different sizes and capacities

of our church buildings. While we make the appeal, we also need to be ready to put the

necessary safeguards that our archdiocesan guidelines have spelled out to us a month

ago. These guidelines have been seen and reviewed by the Department of Health

(DOH) with minimal comments. I include in this instruction a checklist of all the

materials that should be in place.


But more than the materials needed, we should already be preparing our people for

public religious activities through our online communications with them. All of us,

including the people, need to adjust and should have consideration not only for what

we want, but also for the health and protection of others. I hope our online retreat last

week has helped in setting the right perspective to accept changes. I reiterate that all of us

should be concerned that we do not spread the virus during our services. This is part of our

stewardship of the gift of health – our health and the health of those around us. I would stress the following:


1. Those who are not yet allowed to go out (20 years old and below, and 60 years

old and above) should stay at home and use instead the ongoing online religious

services. The parishes will see to it that they can receive Holy Communion which

will be distributed to them in designated places or outside their homes.


2. Those who serve in the church, including the priests, should be honest enough

that if they do not feel well, they should refrain from their service, get themselves

tested, and stay home for self-quarantine until the test results come out. Our

services are meant to do good to others and not to cause harm.


3. Now is the time for all to help one another, listen to each other and not insist on

our own ideas only. Pope Francis is asking us to be a synodal church. This means

a church that is characterized by collaboration and openness to each other so that

we can decide together and walk with each other in this new situation. For the

priests, this can mean greater consultation and listening to the ideas of the

faithful; and for the churchgoers and lay leaders this can mean active

participation in planning, and not just be passive implementors.


4. Our first concern now is how to open up our church services in a safe way. But

little by little each parish and each church organization have to undergo

planning on how to do their activities and programs in this new situation,

considering the pastoral priorities that St. John Paul showed us in our retreat.

They should also consider the new needs of the people now in the pandemic and

afterwards that the Church should address.


5. Let each parish create a ministry of health to extend services to the elderly and

the sick in the parish. They will identify the parishioners who want to receive

Holy Communion outside the Church. This ministry may also be assigned to

screen churchgoers by the use of thermal scanners and to attend to those who

may later on be found to have high temperatures and other illness. Later on, this

ministry will also be in charge of promoting a healthy lifestyle in the parish so

that the people would develop immunity to diseases.


6. An archdiocesan guideline is given to help people, priests and lay faithful alike,

on whether or not he or she is to be tested for Covid 19. However, the decision

to be tested or not, and what test to use, rests on each individual. We shall also

follow the government guidelines on this matter.


The research arm of the Archdiocese has come out with a manual that gathered together

in one volume all the instructions and guidelines that came out since the start of the lockdown

up to yesterday, the Solemnity of the Pentecost. It is meant to be a reference point because

many of the things written there are still useful for us.


God is alive! We are now called to this new situation, where also God’s Spirit is

blowing. Let us discern and follow the Spirit’s lead.



Yours truly in Christ,



Apostolic Administrator

1 June 2020

“Hanggang may taong lansangan na nangangailangan ng kalinga, buhay din po ang aming iaalay.”

This was the message of Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, SVD, founder of Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation after the online theatrical play entitled, “Paglaya mula sa Kulturang Kalye, Pagyakap sa Buhay Kalinga” held in Paco Catholic School last May 28, 2020.

Fr. Villanueva stressed in his message that everyone has to partake to mission and that is to show love and affection to those who need it.

"Tao sila. Tao sila na pinagdamutan ng pag-ibig. Tao sila na ginulangan ng ibang makapangyarihan. Tao sila na itinaboy ng mga taong dapat magmahal sa kanila. Kaya sino? Sino pa ang tutulong sa kanila kundi ang salita na nagkakaroon ng katawan sa tinatawag na kalinga,” Fr. Villanueva said.

“Ang kalinga po ay hindi si Fr. Flavie o ang center. Ang kalinga mula sa Diyos na nagkatawang tao. Kaya ang bawat tao po ay may misyon na mangalinga sa mga taong wala,” he added.

The stage play was participated by the homeless beneficiaries of AJ Kalinga Foundation who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, living together under the shelter of Paco Catholic School for the past two months since the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Manila.

Jonathan Acosta Mangada, one of the performers came from a broken family. At age 7, he left his home and went to Manila. He shared and recalled how painful it was to be judged by people.

“Pag napaligid po kami sa mayayaman, sasabihan ang kanilang mga anak, ‘Anak, huwag kang dumikit diyan dahil magnanakaw yan,’” Mangada shared.

According to him, he was also accused of a murder he did not commit but was forced to admit it. Since then, he started to plant anger and hate in his heart.

“Doon ko po natutunan kung paano mahalin ang aking kapwa, paano po magkaroon ng respeto, paano magkaroon ng kilos may pinag-aralan kahit wala kang ipagmamayabang. Sa Kalinga naranasan ko po magkaroon ng isang ina at isang ama,” he said.

The event was created to address integrally the needs of the homeless, that they are not only being fed and housed in safe shelters but also being accorded with psycho-spiritual interventions. The activity also helps lessen their fear, anxiety and boredom during the pandemic.

The AJ Kalinga Foundation was founded to provide hope, second chances and a venue to empower the homeless to turn their lives around. It provides a holistic, systematic and dignified approach to help its members improve their lives and contribute to society.

The event was organized by Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation Inc. in coordination with Paco Catholic School, Malate Catholic School and San Fernando de Dilao Parish.

To date, there are 150 beneficiaries of AJ Kalinga Foundation that are housed and being taken cared of by the shelter of Paco Catholic School. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

"We are nearing the time of the Pentecost and hopefully there will be the opening up of our Churches by the time of the Pentecost. Little by little. Yes, with restrictions."

This is the hope expressed by Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila in one of his reflections during the Online Retreat, "Pentekostes: From Crisis to Renewal, From Lockdown to Mission" which was broadcasted May 25-28, 2020.

Bishop Pabillo noted that the current crisis really affects the faithful and their families. He, however, also affirmed that the faithful can experience a change of perspective during the similar crisis that can help them face the "new normal".

"We have undergone crisis. The crisis of the quarantine and many of us, this has really been a crisis. A crisis of our relationships. A crisis of our finances. A crisis of our plans and maybe crisis of faith but may this crisis bring us to renewal that we can come out of this situation renewed," he said.

The prelate acknowledged that the faithful have a truly difficult experience because of isolation as an effect of the threat of the coronavirus. It has even caused some a feeling of hopelessness. However, he hopes that somehow a spiritual comfort is felt through the retreat and consequently lead them to recognize their mission in the Church.

"We have been lockdown, unable to move but now little by little, we'll be able to go out. Hopefully, it's not just to enjoy ourselves but we go out to mission," he said.

"We have suffered. Our plans have been curtailed by the lockdown, by this virus, the economy has suffered but there's also something good here, that we can maximize, so we can go out in this experience enlightened and renewed rather than discouraged and despondent. Hopefully, in this retreat we can bring this out," he added.

The online retreat was intended to stand for the Annual Retreat of the clergy of Archdiocese of Manila which is usually scheduled in the month of July. Through the online broadcast, the retreat's attendance was extended to the guest priests, to the Religious priests, brothers and sisters, and even for Lay leaders in the Archdiocese. (Hazel Boquiren/RCAM-AOC)

On May 30, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. (Rome time), His Holiness Pope Francis will lead the praying of the Holy Rosary to implore the help of the Blessed Mother Mary during the pandemic. The event was given the theme, "Devoted and with one accord to prayer, together with Mary (cf. Acts 1:14)".

Together with the Pope, shrines all over the world will simultaneously pray including the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, San Giovanni Rotondo, and Our Lady of Pompei.

According to Vatican News, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which is in charge of the promotion of the initiative, gave dozens of rosaries to families and individuals who represent the areas with most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. They include doctors and nurses, recovered patients, people who lost loved ones, hospital chaplain, pharmacist and journalist. Also, praying with the Pope is a Civil Defense volunteer with his family, and a family who welcomed a new member amidst the spread of the disease.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which has been in charge of Marian shrines since 2017, will broadcast the event via online live-streaming at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, sent out letters addressed to the rectors of the shrines inviting them to organize and promote the special moment of prayer for the world in accordance with current health regulations and relevant time zones.

“In light of the emergency situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused the stoppage of the normal activity of all Shrines and the interruption of all pilgrimages, Pope Francis wishes to express a gesture of closeness to each of you with the recitation of the Holy Rosary,” Archbishop Fisichella said in his letter.

Last May 13, 2020, the feast of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, the Archdiocese of Manila has strongly expressed its Marian devotion as it consecrated the whole archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking for her mantle of protection from the coronavirus pandemic. The prayer of consecration was led by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

Sa mga pamilya na sanay mag-celebrate ng Mother’s Day, nahirapan sila last week na ipagdiwang ito. Paano nila ipahahayag ang pagmamamahal nila sa kanilang nanay? Hindi naman sila makapag-shopping para sa kanya. Hindi sila makakain sa labas. Mahirap din pati na bumili lamang ng bulaklak. Ang hirap manghula ng gusto ng minamahal natin at mapaligaya siya. Ito ang problema natin tuwing birthday, anniversary at pasko. Ang hirap maghanap ng regalo. Ang hirap gumawa ng isang activity na magugustuhan ng mga mahal natin.

Si Hesus, hindi niya tayo pinahirapan. Sa ating Ebanghelyo, dalawang beses niya inulit, “Kung ibig ninyo ako, gawin ninyo ang aking utos.” Ilang beses natin matatagpuan ito sa Banal na Kasulatan. Hindi na natin kailangan manghula paano ba liligaya ang Diyos. Diyan liligaya si Hesus, kung ginagawa natin ang utos niya. Ang pag-ibig sa Diyos ay konkreto hindi ito nasusukat sa mga luha na ibinubuhos natin o sa tibok ng ating puso. Ito ay pracktial, mahal natin siya kung ginagawa natin ang kanyang utos.

Aling mga utos? Hindi rin niya tayo pinahirapan dito. Although there are six hundred…in the Torah in the Law of Moses, Jesus summarized the commandments into two: love of God and love of neighbor. So, St. Paul can say, “O, nothing to anyone except to love one another for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments: You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall covet and whatever other commandments there may be are summed up in these namely: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does know no evil to the neighbor hence love is the fulfillment of the law.

Yan po yung sinabi sa atin ni San Pablo at kung mahal natin ang ating kapwa mahal din natin ang Diyos. Hindi natin maaaring mahalin ang Diyos na hindi natin nakikita kung hindi natin minamahal ang kapwang ating nakikita. Kaya maliwanag ang paraan upang mahalin ang Diyos – sundin ang kanyang utos. Maliwanag din ang kanyang utos – mahalin mo ang iyong kapwa.

Ngayon ang tanong, paano natin gagawin ito? Nagbigay ang Diyos ng halimbawa at yan ay walang iba kundi si Hesus mismo. The son of God became man so that he may know and see how God loves in a human way. Kaya ang paanyaya ni Hesus sa atin ay,”Come follow me.” Halikayo, tularan ninyo ako at tignan natin ang buhay ni Hesus paanong siyang lumalakbay at tumutulong sa mga nangangailangan sa mga dukha, sa mga…., sa mga bulag, sa mga inaalila ng demonyo. Kung paano siya nagpapatawad kahit na nga sa pumapatay sa kanya at paano pinagbigyan niya ang maraming tao. Yan po yung pagmamahal sa kapwa. Pero kaya kaya natin gawin ang ginawa ni Hesus?

Nung ako’y batang pari pa, na-assigned ako sa isang parokya sa Laguna kasama ang isang matandang pari na masipag magtrabaho pero madaling magalit sa mga hindi nakakasunod sa kanyang trabaho.

Isang araw habang kumakain kami dumating siya sa kainan at galit na galit. Hindi ko na nga maalaala ano ikinagagalit niya. Inaamo amo namin siya para humupa ang galit at ang sabi ko, “Father, tingnan mo si Hesus nakapagtimpi siya.” Nagkamali ako mas lalong nagalit. “Si Hesus, aniya, Diyos naman siya tao ako. Tandaan mo, tao ako.” Ako pa tuloy ang napapagalitan. Matutularan ba natin si Hesus kahit na maliwanag ang kanyang salita kahit na nagbigay siya ng halimbawa? Magagawa ba natin ang kanyang ginawa? Oo, kasi ibinigay niya sa atin ang kanyang espiritu. The Holy Spirit which is the energy of God. The power of God that empowered Jesus is the same power that is empowering us. Kaya nating magawa kahit ang mga maka-Diyos na ginawa ni Hesus dahil nasa atin ang energy na yan. Kahit tao lamang tayo, we are empowered to follow Jesus.

Ito yung regalong hiningi ni Hesus sa Ama upang hindi tayo mangulila. Sabi niya magpapadala ang Ama ng isa pang katulong, another advocate another helper.  Ang espirito ng katotohanan upang dalhin tayo sa kaganapan ng katotohanan upang paalalahanan tayo ng mga aral ni Hesus upang bigyan tayo ng lakas para ituwid ang mali sa buhay. We can be Christ-like because that of the spirit that is in us.

In our First Reading, when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people in Samaria had accepted the message through Philip, they sent Peter and John to visit them. They laid their hands on them and prayed over them when they knew that they have not received yet the Holy Spirit. They need the Holy Spirit to enable them to live the new found faith that they have. Ganun din tayo, pagkatapos na tayo ay mabinyagan, kailangan natin ang Sakramento ng Kumpil upang palakasin at palaguin ang pananampalataya na naitanim sa atin sa binyag. Hence, with Confirmation we become mature Christians able to be his witnesses to the world and to defend the faith.

Ito rin ang sinabi ni St. Peter sa ating Ikalawang Pagbasa – to defend and explain the faith. Sabi niya, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who ask you for a reason for your….but do it with gentleness and reverence.” Yan ang witness na paninindigan natin ang dahilan bakit tayo naniniwala, umaasa at umiibig. Pero hindi palaban ang ating pagpapaliwanag ngunit puno ng kahinaunan at paggalang. Hindi lang kaalaman ang ibinibigay ng Espiritu Santo sa atin ngunit magandang pag-uugali. Kaya ba natin yan? Sa ating sarili lang, maaring hindi pero hindi lang naman tayo umaasa sa ating sarili, nandiyan ang espiritu ng Diyos na kumikilos sa atin.

Nagsisimula na ang mga Pagbasa natin na magsalita tungkol sa Espiritu Santo kasi pinaghahandaan na natin ang Pentekostes – ang pagbaba ng Espiritu Santo sa simabahan na ipagdiriwang natin sa May 31, two weeks from now. Next week ang ating kapistahan ay ang pag-akyat ni Hesus sa langit and after that the coming down of the Holy Spirit.

Pero ngayong Linggo, isa pang bagay na pinapaalaala sa atin. Five years ago, the Holy Father came out with a record breaking letter, Laudato Si, The Care for Our Common Home. It is record breaking not only because it is so far the longest encyclical letter of a Pope. It is record breaking because it is the most awaited by many people and when it came out, it was read and acclaimed worldwide. The most read pastoral letter of our Holy Father even by non-catholics. In a way, it was a great influence for the…of the poor in 2015. It is really a clear call to all to open our eyes and make a commitment to care for our common home. It is the only hope that we have - the Mother Earth.

This week from May 16 to May 24, we are celebrating the Laudato Si Week. Totoong nakukuha ang ating atensiyon ngayon ng COVID-19 pero hindi dapat mawala sa ating pansin ang iba pang mahahalagang usapin sa ating mundo at isa sa mahalagang usapin ay ang usapin tungkol sa ating kapaligiran kasi iisa lang nga ang ating tahanan. Marami ngang nagsasabi na may kauganayan ang usapin ng virus sa pagkasira ng ating kapaligran. At kung hindi tayo mag-ingat may mga iba pang virus o bacteria na hindi natin alam na kakalat sa atin dahil sa ginagalaw natin ang mga tirahan ng mga hayop o mga ibon na maaaring pagmumulan ng mga virus at bacteria na hindi natin kilala.

Kung may isang bagay na naparamdam sa atin ng pandemic na ito, yan ay magkakaugnay ang buhay natin sa mundo. We are all connected to each other. Ang virus na nagsimula sa isang palengke o sa isa kayang laboratory kung naniniwala kayo ay nakapagtigil sa takbo ng mundo dahil dugtung dugtong ang buhay natin.

Yan din ang mensahe ni Pope Francis sa Laudato Si. Ano man ang lahi natin, ano man ang ating relihiyon, ano man ang social status – mayaman man tayo o mahirap, iisa lang ang tahanan natin at ano mang gawin natin dito ay babalik sa atin. Ang pag-alaga natin sa mundo ay may pakinabang sa lahat at ang pagkasira naman nito ay damay din tayong lahat.

At isa ring pinakita sa atin nitong virus na hindi lang dugtung dugtong ang buhay natin, kaya naman pala nating magbago. Kaya naman pala natin maging simple ang buhay sa ating pagapapahinga sa ating mga tahanan, huminga rin ang mundo. Mas luminis ang ating environment. Kaya naman pala nating magkaroon ng panibagong lifestyle. Hingin natin ang lakas ng Espiritu Santo na panibaguhin tayo at ng mundo.

Makiisa tayo sa mga gawain ng maraming ecology groups at dito sa ating archdiocese meron tayong Ministry on Ecology. Meron din tayong Global Catholic Climate Change Movement (GCCM). Sana makiisa tayo sa mga gawain nito upang mas lalong maisabuhay natin ang panawagan ng Laudato Si. Kaya ang dasal natin, “Come Holy Spirit. Come renew the face of the earth.”

May isa pa akong ibig sabihin, ito naman ay para sa inyong parokya. Happy Feast Day po sa inyong lahat dito sa parokya ng Our Lady of Peñafrancia de Manila dito sa Paco.

Kapag binabanggit ang Peñafrancia, ang kaagad na pumapasok sa isip ng maraming Pilipino ay ang ina ng Bicol. Ang Peñafrancia ng Naga City, Camrines Sur. May kaugnayan ang Peñafrancia dito sa Paco at ang Penafrañcia sa Bicol. Maaari pa ngang mas nauna ang debosyong ito dito sa Paco. Pero hindi yan gaanong mahalaga. The important thing is that it is the same devotion to our Blessed Mother. Whatever title she carries, she is the Blessed Mother. We give her so many titles because we experience her in so many different ways all over the world. She manifests her care and love in diverse ways. This is how fruitful and manifold the love of Mary is.

Itinalaga natin ang ating sarili sa kanya noong Miyerkules, May 13. Ipagpatuloy natin ang ating pag-ibig sa ating ina. Sinabi ni Hesus, “Kung iniibig ninyo ako, gawin ninyo ang aking utos.” Ganun din ang sinasabi sa atin ng Mahal na Birhen, “Kung iniibig niyo ako, gawin niyo ang aking utos.” At may isang utos lang si Maria sa Bibliya. Yan ang sinabi niya sa Cana, Galilea, “Gawin ninyo ang ipapagawa niya, ni Hesus sa inyo.” Ang paglapit kay Maria ay ang paglapit kay Hesus. Dinadala tayo ni Mama Mary na mas maging malapit kay Hesus. Yan ang kanyang tanging kahilingan…kaya kung mahal natin siya, sundin natin ang kanyang utos. Gawin natin ang ipinagagawa ni Hesus sa atin. Maging malapit tayo kay Hesus at matututwa ang Mahal na Birhen sa atin. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

“May misyon tayo at isa sa epektibong pamamahayag ay ang social communications kasi we cannot remain conservative with regard to communications,” said Bishop Pablo "Ambo" Virgilio David, Bishop of Caloocan, during the program “Pastoral Visit on-the-air” at Radio Veritas.

Photo Credit: San Roque de Manila Parish Facebook Page

Bishop David, who is also the Vice-President of Catholic Bishops' Conference in the Philippines, emphasized the important role of the Social Communications Ministry in proclaiming the Good News amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bakit natin hahayaan na ang Mabuting Balita hindi makaabot sa kamalayan ng mga tao, kapag pinanood ng tao sa online, livestream they are watching upclose malinaw, naririnig ng mabuti. They get every word,” he said.

The Bishop also pointed out how the ministry has become a "lifeline" of the Church through which it unifies the faithful and minister to their needs during the enhanced community quarantine.

“But we have to cooperate with the government para masupil natin ang pandemya. Ngayon biglang naging lifeline ng simbahan ay ang social communications ministry,” said the bishop.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has allowed some religious gatherings in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ). Under the guidelines of the MECQ, religious gatherings would be highly restricted and limited to not more than five persons while religious gatherings under GCQ are limited to ten persons.

The many churches in the Philippines are now preparing for public celebration of masses with provisions for the strict compliance of the guidelines released by the task force.

CBCP particularly exhorted the faithful to adhere to health policies such as social distancing, no-touch policy, wearing of face mask, and the use of foot bath at the entrance of the Churches. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC) 

May 24, 2020, Sunday, is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. It is also when Catholics worldwide celebrate the 54th World Communications Day with the theme “'That you may tell your children and grandchildren' (Ex 10:2) Life becomes history."

“I would like to devote this year’s message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together. Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another,” Pope Francis said in his message for the 54th World Communications Sunday.

Since the faithful are confined within the premises of their homes because of the quarantine period, the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Social Communications, in partnership with different organizations, has prepared a series of online activities where social communicators from all over are to participate.

On May 23, 2020, a series of activities will be featured from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The day will commence with the greetings of the diocesan directors of the Ecclesiastical Province of Manila. It will be followed by the message and reflection of Bishop Marcelino “Junie” Maralit of Boac who is also the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP-ESCS) on the message of Pope Francis for World Communications Day.

TV Maria production "Lakbites" will feature a video tutorial on online Mass using a web camera. Other video tutorials will also air on how to set up simple live-streaming of Mass using mobile phones and video cameras.

These activities aim to help SOCOM ministries of parishes who are the frontliners in delivering to the faithful the Word of God through online masses during this time of crisis on coronavirus, as the faithful are not yet able to attend mass in churches.

On May 23, at 7 p.m., Rev. Fr. Nicanor Lalog, SOCOM Director of the Diocese of Malolos will conduct an online interview with the award-winning veteran broadcast journalist, Jessica Soho. It will be live-streamed at the Diocese of Malolos – Social Communications Facebook page.

On May 24, World Communications Day and Solemnity of the Ascension of Christ, Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila will preside the online celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 10 in the morning.

Also on May 24, the dioceses of Cubao and Antipolo is coming up with a talk show entitled “Usapang SOCOM” that will discuss the present situation of Social Communications (SOCOM) Ministry in diocese/parish during the quarantine period via Zoom at 11 a.m. (Radio Veritas) and 2 p.m. (RCAM-AOC).

Still part of the special celebration of World Communications Day, a spiritual retreat in preparation for the faithful as they face the "new normal" after the quarantine period. The retreat takes place on May 25-28, 2020, to be facilitated by Bishop Pabillo, with sessions from 10 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. On the same day at 4-5 p.m., there is the online Flores de Mayo.

The above-mentioned events will be live-streamed via the RCAM SOCOM platforms – TV Maria, Radio Veritas and Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications (AOC).

In the last part of his message for World Communication's Day, Pope Francis urges the faithful to ask help from the Blessed Mother as they continue to write and tell stories of faith, hope, and love.

“O Mary, woman and mother, you wove the divine Word in your womb, you recounted by your life the magnificent works of God. Listen to our stories, hold them in your heart and make your own the stories that no one wants to hear. Teach us to recognize the good thread that runs through history. Look at the tangled knots in our life that paralyze our memory. By your gentle hands, every knot can be untied. Woman of the Spirit, mother of trust, inspire us too. Help us build stories of peace, stories that point to the future. And show us the way to live them together.” (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

In his proposed guidelines titled "Protocols for Religious Services," Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila stressed the need to resolve financial difficulties experienced by the parishes since the declaration of the quarantine period.

Bishop Pabillo emphasized that Priests can continue their improvement projects at a later time because there is no prospect for it to be prioritized since they are helping the needy in times of crisis due to COVID-19.

The collections gathered from mass donors are the source of funding to sustain the Parishes in their expenses, such as utilities, wages of the parish personnel and improvement projects. The faithful, being confined in their homes, are unable to attend mass and give their contributions as the effect of the community quarantine, thus leading to financial difficulty for the parish.

"We expect our revenues to fall. People have no money and we have to do a lot of charitable works. Thus let us minimize our expenses, especially our capital expenses. Improvements and projects can wait but proper maintenance should be done so as not to incur greater expenses later on," he said.

The prelate mentioned that the Finance Department of the Archdiocese will create guidelines for parishes concerning online donations while online masses are celebrated.

Parishes also contribute to the Curia which funds the salaries of the Catechists and apostolic fund for Priests.

In lieu of this, Bishop Pabillo, in an interview with CBCP News, said that he has given instructions to parishes with more financial security to support parishes in need of financial assistance.

"The parishes help one another. Those who have resources help those who do not have enough,” the bishop said.

The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas appealed to the Catholic faithful to assist parishes for support as they are also working at the frontlines to during this pandemic.

"Nananawagan ang Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Laiko) sa kapwa naming mga Katolikong mananampalataya na huwag nating pabayaan ang ating mga Parokya at mga gawain nito sa panahon ng pandemya at kuwarantin. Nasaksihan din po natin na kahit na walang koleksyon, nangunguna ang simbahan sa pagtulong sa mga nangangailangan, Katoliko man sila o hindi," they said in a written statement. (Hazel Boquiren/RCAM-AOC)

In his latest Pastoral Instruction called “We go out renewed,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila urges the clergy and the faithful of the archdiocese to participate in an online spiritual retreat to become renewed as they face the new life that awaits after confinement in the quarantine brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do not go out of the quarantine just to return to our old self and the usual way of doing things. We go out renewed - with new perspectives, with new zest, and with greater commitment. In order to make this happen we prepare ourselves for the post quarantine life and ministry by a spiritual retreat,” Bishop Pabillo said.

The Spiritual Online Retreat is set on May 25 morning to May 28 evening. This will be broadcasted to homes and thus open to all, especially for priests, religious men and women and lay leaders in the archdiocese but also to those who are interested to participate beyond the archdiocese.

According to Bishop Pabillo, the structure of the retreat is simple and somewhat similar to the usual retreat that one makes. Each day, there will be two conferences for reflection, 10 am and 3 pm. After each conference participants will set aside at least an hour of solid prayer. For the priests and religious, the bishop said, it can be done in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Each one is encouraged to spend thirty minutes in reading the Bible, with which plenary indulgence can be obtained. Participants are also asked to pray the Holy Rosary. The retreat will be concluded by a confession where the faithful and religious can ask priests to hear their confession in the parish or in their religious house.

“This retreat will be a good preparation for our re-entry into the new, and hopefully better, normal that awaits us after this quarantine. Covid 19 will still be around and we do not yet know when this pandemic will end, but this will not stop us from serving our people,” the Bishop said. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)

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