The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called for a prayer for ‘healing’ and an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a CBCP statement released Wednesday, the “call to prayer” was contained in a joint pastoral message on COVID-19 issued by the bishops’ Commission on Seminaries and the Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education.
Catholic bishops appeal for a massive and nationwide campaign for “10 Hail Mary’s daily” in Catholic schools and seminaries, parishes, and communities.
The nationwide prayer campaign started on August 15 during the Solemnity of the Assumption and will end on September 15 during the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows to be prayed at 12:00 noon wherever a devotee may be.
“We invite all to a collective prayer action to lift the lockdowns and help heal the nation. God always listens and nothing is impossible with Him,” CBCP stated.
Catholic colleges and universities are also called by Catholic bishops to ensure that scientific studies about the pandemic are widely shared with the general public “using reason, science and Catholic social teachings”.
CBCP also appealed to parents and teachers to attend to the special needs of their children during these “extraordinary times”.
The balanced growth and formation of the children’s mind, body, and soul must also be ensured at times like this, bishops said.
“There is a bigger and brighter world beyond the virtual world that our children have been accustomed to during the lockdowns,” according to the statement.
While saying that medicine is not the expertise in seminaries, “let us drink from the well of Catholic social teachings how to face this worldwide pandemic”.
“These will give our countrymen access to the truth that will free them from baseless fears and unnecessary anxieties,” the bishops said.
To share their concern for the country and the world, the CBCP also make appeals to media and even to government officials.
CBCP plead to media to balance the coverage of the COVID-19 crisis, reminded to be independent and fearless, and follow the truth.
Bishops also called government officials to be more open to the new scientific insights and global experiences around COVID-19, “even if these may challenge one’s belief systems and preferred approaches to managing the epidemic”.
They said there is a need to learn from the success stories of our ASEAN neighbors with political humility and collective honesty.
“We appeal to the IATF for a more participatory approach that is open to the wisdom and experience of various professionals, scientists and physicians as well as genuine and constructive representatives of business, civil society, and local government units.”
They also appeal for the upgrade of the capacity of hospitals and rationalize the use of limited hospital spaces.
The bishops mentioned being more precise in targeting who should receive priority in the hospital care and focus the strategy in protecting the most vulnerable sectors of society.
CBCP also asked devotees to “refuse to get discouraged and rise up to hope in the Lord”.
The statement released Wednesday was signed by Socrates Villegas of Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, chair of Episcopal Commission on Seminaries and Roberto Mallari, bishop of San Jose de Nueva Ecija and chair of Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education.