Print this page
Sunday, 17 May 2020 06:39

Pastoral Instruction: We go out renewed


My dear priests of the Archdiocese of Manila,

This quarantine has been so unexpected. It has been for many a long dark tunnel of uncertainty. And it has happened during the most solemn and meaningful seasons for us Christians: the season of Lent and the season of Easter. But at last we see light at the end of the tunnel, however faint it may be. We now see that the quarantine is ending, though we do not exactly know when.


The lock down has been for us like being put in a tomb. We experienced the helplessness and darkness of the grave. But our faith tells us that with Jesus we will go out of the tomb. Hopefully, however, we go out from this two-and-half- months of lock down experience with new life. 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.

I foresee see that we priests will not be able to make our annual spiritual retreat as scheduled in July, and when we miss that schedule it will be difficult to set another time for it this year. As new situations call for new responses, this time I invite all of you to make our spiritual retreat together online. It will be from May 25 morning to May 28 evening. It will be done in your homes. Being online we can open the retreat to all priests in the archdiocese, including the guest priests, to all religious men and women in the archdiocese, and to all the lay collaborators in our parishes and ministries. In a way this can help unite all who are involved in the archdiocese, being one in prayer and listening to the same reflections that can help form among us a common mind. Let each priest invite those he closely works with to join in this retreat.

The structure of the retreat will be simple. What is important is that each one enters into an atmosphere of prayer and reflection. We will unite ourselves to each other every day in the Eucharist. The lay people can do this online. There will be two reflection talks per day, one in the morning at 10 am and one in the afternoon at 3 pm. During the day, each one will set aside at least one hour of solid prayer. For the priests and the religious, it is good if this can be done in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Let each one spend thirty minutes reading the Bible. By doing so you will get a plenary indulgence. Each also prays the rosary, not necessarily limiting ourselves to one mystery per day. Finally, let each one conclude the retreat with a good confession. The lay leaders and the religious can ask priests to hear their confession in the parish or in their religious house. The schedule will then be very flexible, according to your own situation. What is important is that we set aside these days to encounter the Lord. The big challenge is the effort “to fast” from the social media to let the peace of the Lord reign within us. 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.

Let us be generous, open, and available in doing this spiritual retreat. Our Blessed Mother to whom we are consecrated will be with us and pray with us.

 

Yours sincerely in Christ,

 

+ BRODERICK PABILLO
Apostolic Administrator of Manila
May 16, 2020