Bishop Pabillo issued a Pastoral Letter today, 13 March 2020, following the press conference of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the evening of Thursday, 12 March 2020 wherein the president declared Community Quarantine as the country faced a Code Red Sublevel 2 of the COVID-19 virus.
The Pastoral Letter states the following:
1) The faithful are dispensed from Sunday mass obligation
As the country is to avoid large gatherings, "in the Archdiocese of Manila I dispense all the faithful from the obligation of going to Mass this Sunday. There will be no public celebration of the Holy Mass and no public activities in all the churches in the Archdiocese for seven days, starting Saturday, March14, till Friday, March 20."
2) Bells of the church will be rung at 12 noon and 8PM as call for prayer
"Although we will not be able to come to Holy Mass, this does not mean that we no longer can come to the Lord. We should all the more strive to be in touch with Him by fervent prayer. Thus from March 14 onwards let all the bells of our churches be rung every twelve o’clock noon and eight o’clock in the evening to call all people to pray the ORATIO IMPERATA prayer to fight this virus. Let us join in this prayer. Let families gather together at 8 pm to pray as a family for divine protection. After the Oratio Imperata the families can pray the rosary and read the Scriptures."
3) Churches will be open all day
"I enjoin the parishes and places of prayer to be open all day so that people may come and find solace in silent prayer. "
4) Sanitizers to be available in church entrances
"... let sanitizers be available at the entrances and let the churches be regularly cleaned."
5) Suspension of Kumpisalang Bayan
"For the moment let us not organize Kumpisalang Bayan to avoid large gatherings of people but let all priests give definite time to hear individual confessions during the day to be of service to the penitents who come."
6) Priests must still be available to visit the sick
"Although there are risks, priests must be available to visit the sick and minister to them. In time of crisis people need the Lord, and the priests show God’s nearness by their presence among the people."
7) Use social media to help us in our faith
"We can use the social media and other means of communication to help us in our faith. Please tune in to Radio Veritas 846 and TV Maria for their regular broadcasts of Masses and other religious activities. Quiapo and other churches also have live streaming of their Masses. We will coordinate with other media outlets participate in our noon and evening prayers. You can also follow the daily readings of the Mass by reading your Bibles. The Word of God in the Scriptures gives us hope, strength and guidance. Being in community quarantine can be an opportunity to be more present to our loved ones and to the Lord."
Below is the Pastoral Letter in full: