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Saturday, 01 August 2020 15:53

Pastoral Instruction: We Hear the Call

My Dear People of God in the Archdiocese of Manila,

The infection rate of COVID-19 has already reached more than 5,000 a day.

More than 2,000 people have died because of the disease. Many hospitals in

Metro Manila are nearing full capacity. Earlier today more than 80 medical

associations and societies have brought out a common open letter asking

for a “time out” for a period of two weeks, that is, an appeal to a return to

the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for the Greater Manila Area

where the infections are most pronounced. We in the Church hear their



Jesus had compassion on the crowd when he saw them bringing their sick

to him (cfr Mt 14:14). We share the compassion of the medical front liners

for the many sick people being brought to our hospitals. We have

witnessed their dedicated service to those who come to them. Many among

them are tired and even discouraged by their heavy responsibilities. So we

support their appeal for a “time out.” We understand that they call for this

not only for their own respite, though they truly need one. They call for a

period of time to reassess the response that we as a country have to this

pandemic. It seems that the current responses are not working because the

cases are rising after four months and a half of quarantine. So all the

stakeholders really need this time to come together to evaluate and

improve our approaches to fight this pandemic. We echo their call that

each individual and each family take seriously the health protocols to keep

safe, such as the proper use of face masks, the required physical distancing,

the frequent hand washing, and not going out of the house unless truly

necessary. These may be simple things but they help a lot in stemming the

spread of the virus.

As a response to the call of our medical people, all the churches and shrines

in the Archdiocese of Manila will revert to the period of the ECQ protocols.

We will not hold public religious activities from August 3 to August 14 but

we continue our online religious activities. We will also use this time to

evaluate our church response to the pandemic and see how we can

improve them.

We all suffer from this pandemic economically. However, there are many

families who are more badly impacted than others. So we appeal for

generosity. We hear the call of Jesus: “Give them something to eat” (Mt

14:16). Let us give whatever we can, however little it may be, so that no one

may suffer the pangs of hunger.

Finally, brothers and sisters, let us intensify our prayers that our front

liners may be kept safe, that those who are sick may get well soon, and that

all our families be protected from the virus. We offer our prayer and fasting

with trust because “nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37). He is

powerful and He loves us.


Yours truly in Christ,


Apostolic Administrator of Manila

August 1, 2020