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Cardinal Tagle Sends Message from Rome as COVID-19 Pandemic is Declared

"Trust in the Lord. Let this crisis bring out what is good and honorable in us." - Cardinal Tagle

by Margaux Salcedo, Clyde Ericson Nolasco

From the Pontificio Collegio Filipino in Rome, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Archbishop of Manila and now Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples of Propaganda Fide sent a personal video message to Filipinos today as the number of Filipinos confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the Philippines hit 52.

In the 7-minute message for Filipinos in Italy, other parts of Europe, in the Philippines and around the world, the Cardinal Prefect said that he is one with all Filipinos in fear and in hope. "Nakiki-isa po kami sa inyong lahat sa pangamba, gayun din sa pag-asa."


He said in Tagalog that in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is natural to be afraid, to be worried. However, we must not be consumed by fear.

He pointed out: "Isn't it that when we are afraid, we get paralyzed? We just mope and do nothing. The problem will just get worse."


Cardinal Tagle reminded everyone to follow basic guidelines that seem unimportant but in fact have a big impact:

  • Wash hands often.

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth.

  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth.

  • Practice social distancing.

  • If you feel under the weather, wear a mask.


The Cardinal Prefect also reminded everyone that this is the time of Lent, or CUARESMA, and noted that the root word of quarantine and cuaresma are the same.

While this is a time when many are being quarantined, reminiscent of the quarantine done during the time of the Black Plague or Bubonic Plague in Europe, when the time for avoiding the sick was elongated to 40 days from 30 days, he noted that this is also the time of Cuaresma or Lent: 40 days of preparation to commemorate the death of Christ and to celebrate his Resurrection.

Therefore, he said, it might good to look at what this crisis can add to the proper celebration of Cuaresma.


He reminded everyone of the 3 Disciplines of Cuaresma:

(1) Fasting

(2) Almsgiving

(3) Prayer

As we are unable to do things that we once regarded as valuable - trips, movies, shopping - let this be a reminder to fast and abstain from these things that we had become used to.

He said that perhaps these trying times are a reminder to be simple, to choose what is important and to let go of what is really not important.


Amidst news of panic-buying and profiteering, he urged everyone to share.

He also reminded everyone to pray.

"Prayer is recognizing God, which in the end means we lift it all up to Him."


"I hope this crisis teaches again to be humble. We are not God. We do not control the world or life. Let us get to know Him. Follow His will. Listen to His word. And do his commandments."

He urged all Filipinos to help each other, pray and trust in the Lord.

"Trust in the Lord. Let this crisis bring out what is good and honorable in us."

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