The ten bishops of Metro Manila have declared that there will be no masses and no public events in Metro Manila until April 14.
Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, Bishop Francisco de Leon of Antipolo, Bishop Roberto Gaa of Novaliches, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos, Auxiliary Bishop Nolly Buco of Antipolo and Bishop Oscar Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines released a joint Pastoral Statement today stating the following:
All celebrations with large gatherings are suspended until April 14:
(1) No Holy Mass and religious activities
We will abide by the government’s directive to suspend all large gatherings from March 15 to April 14. So there will be no celebration of the Holy Mass with a large congregation within this period, plus other religious activities during the Holy Week which usually attract huge crowds of the faithful.
(2) No Holy Week activities
Since the dates for the Metro Manila Community Quarantine will coincide with the last three Sundays of Lent, and Holy Week, it would mean that the liturgical celebrations during those days, including Palm Sunday, the rest of the Holy Week and Easter Sunday will not be open to the public
There will be no public blessing of palms, Visita Iglesia, Siete Palabras, Good Friday procession and Easter Salubong.
(3) No Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings except for those already scheduled but with strict restrictions
The Baptisms, Confirmations, and Weddings scheduled within these dates, which can no longer be postponed due to the enormity of the preparations involved, may push through, but will be subject to severe restrictions as to the number of participants and attendees, and proper social distancing should be observed. All other celebrations of these aforementioned sacraments are to be temporarily deferred.
What Catholics are encouraged to do in the meantime:
(1) Attend online masses and online Lenten events.
We heed the instruction of the CBCP which reads: “We should continue to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and Holy Week liturgical celebrations even in the absence of a congregation. In spite of the fact that our faithful cannot be physically present in the Eucharistic celebration, the crisis gives us the opportunity to unite ourselves with one another in the bond of spiritual communion through the digital technology” (CBCP circular 20-14)
*Priests will continue to celebrate mass but without the congregation. So the faithful are all encouraged to celebrate with them through television, radio or online channels. Follow Dominus Est PH on Facebook for daily prayer and mass schedule updates. Click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/DominusEstPH/
(2) Daily Ringing of Church Bells to remind everyone to pray:
12 noon - Angelus, Oratio Imperata
8PM - Rosary, Oratio Imperata
Let the bells of our Churches be heard at 12 o’clock noon and 8 o’clock in the evening to call all the faithful to pray the Oratio Imperata together with the praying of the Angelus at noon and the family rosary in the evening. Let us all earnestly turn to the Lord in prayer. Together with the psalmist, let us pray: “I love you, LORD, my strength, LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!” (Ps. 18:2-3)
The faithful are called upon to pray the Rosary as it is a good prayer to meditate on the mysteries of the life of the Lord that we intensely celebrate in the universal Church during the Holy Week.
(3) Days of Penance, Prayer and Fasting
We call for days of penance, prayer, and fasting during all the Fridays of Lent (March 20, 27, and April 3), including Good Friday (April 10). This is our response to the CBCP appeal: “We are enjoining all the Local Ordinaries and the Diocesan Administrators to call for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for all those who are infected with the COVID-19 and those who have died, and for our deliverance from this pandemic” (CBCP circular 20-14).
The month-long community quarantine will affect the poor and the daily wage earners heavily. Let our parishes and church institutions, in close coordination with their local government units (LGUs), be creative in going out of their way to help the people in their basic needs. We appeal for donations to help the poor and the sick.
(5) Offer our difficulties to the Lord, entrust ourselves to the maternal care of Mary Mother of the Afflicted, be assured of Easter!
We offer to the Lord the difficulties and uncertainties that confront us in the spirit of Lent, which is the spirit of fervent prayer, penance and generosity. We are assured of Easter. Life will overcome death. This virus will pass us by. We say with St. Paul: “We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts” (Rom. 5:3-5).
Let us entrust ourselves to the maternal care of Mary, Mother of the Afflicted.
See the full Pastoral Letter below: