De Lima calls for more prayers, sacrifices vs COVID-19 pandemic


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Senator Leila M. de Lima has called on the Filipino people regardless of religious affiliations to storm heavens with prayers and sacrifices as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc here and around the world.

De Lima said although she is detained, she feels for the sufferings of the Filipino people, especially among poor families in the National Capital Region who are placed under stringent “enhanced community quarantine” imposed since March 16.

“Even in detention, I cannot help thinking about the suffering of many of our countrymen in these troubling and uncertain times. I hope that even with different religious affiliations, we can unify as one in offering our heartfelt prayers,” she said.

“Keep safe everyone! Pray, pray, pray. I encourage everyone, including my staff, to pray daily the Oratio Imperata (Obligatory Prayer) against the spread of COVID-19, as issued by the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines),” she added.

Last March 9, the CBCP called on the Catholic faithful to pray the Oratio Imperata for “those suffering from the coronavirus and to all those who are caring for them”. It also halted Masses and gatherings in compliance with the “social distancing” measures.

Since Masses are temporarily placed on hold, including the forthcoming Holy Week, priests like her spiritual adviser Fr. Robert Reyes have taken upon themselves to conduct paraliturgical services at their respective dioceses and parishes.

Similar arrangements are being observed around the world not only to join global efforts to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus but also in solidarity with those who were infected and those who died due to the disease.         

Last March 21, Mr. Duterte has issued Proclamation 934 declaring the 4th week of March as National Week of Prayer encouraging the Filipino people to pray in order to “defeat this invisible enemy with the aid and blessing of God.”

De Lima, a devout Catholic herself, lauded the creativity and ingenuity of some priests in leading the Catholic faithful to kneel in deep prayers and supplications in time of national crisis in spite of the enhanced community quarantine. 

For one, she lauded the initiatives of Fr. Reyes to conduct street tours or visitations, bringing with him the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to encourage families to pray together for her miraculous intercession to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the lady Senator from Bicol, although she will again miss the Lenten tradition for the fourth consecutive year, she will be guided in prayers and sacrifices inside her detention with a limited people attending paraliturgical services.

“Let us continue on offering our prayers and sacrifices to end this global nightmare.  I shall pray most especially for our health care workers and frontliners to protect them as they attend to the needs of those who are sick,” she said.

Official figures show that COVID-19 believed to have originated in Wuhan, China has killed more than 10,000 people and infected over 245,000 around the world.

To date, the Philippines has at least 35 people who have died and 552 others have been infected with coronavirus disease, many of whom are elderly people and health care workers. (30)

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