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MESSAGE AND PRAYER OF SOLIDARITY in the Covid-19 Pandemic from the Bicol Bishops

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Risen Lord! We send you Easter greetings in the midst of anxiety brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are all concerned. No single individual, family, barangay, municipality, diocese, province, even country can end this global crisis. ‘Nobody is safe, unless everybody is safe.’ (WHO) We need each other. ‘We are all in the same boat.’ (Pope Francis) We all are responsible for each other. The non-cooperation of even one can lead to danger. Magtarabangan lugod kita!

As believers, prayer is our lifeline. In prayer we entrust ourselves to Him, the All-Powerful One. The sick, the dying and their families, the frontliners, decision makers, leaders, volunteers and fellow citizens need our prayers. For many of us, observing protocols, staying at home and praying are our best contribution to this fight. And, praying together, as one region, can be more powerful and beneficial.

We remember, in the 1880’s, our place was saved from the cholera morbo epidemic, because of the prayers of our parents to INA, Our Lady of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro. In fact, we continue to remember the promise of gratitude made by our parents.

Thus, as a mother gathers her children to prayer in time of need, in the name of the Church in Bicol, we Bishops of Bicol, invite you all – clergy and faithful, to spend a moment of prayer together, simultaneously invoking the help of Our Ina, to beg God’s loving mercy, on April 19, 2020 – Divine Mercy Sunday, at 6:00 in the evening in your own parishes and homes. This is also traditionally the Domingo de Albis, a day for the sick.

We kindly ask our Parish Priests to ring the bells, open the loudspeakers, turn on the lights, lit the Paschal Candle as we pray together. We ask our faithful, parishioners in their homes to light candles, open the lights, connect via livestream is possible, and pray with us, or pray on their own. We call this prayer moment as: ‘Sararong Pag-arang; Sararong Pagtarabang’.

Let us implore the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for healing, mercy and protection; for greater patience, perseverance, generosity, sense of sacrifice; for unwavering vigilance, prompt, unselfish and compassionate service; for united effort and cooperation among ourselves. We especially pray for healing of those afflicted by Covid-19 and beg for deliverance from this pandemic.

The Scriptures remind us: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”, (Matthew 7:7) and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

We pray for our region, our country and the world. We invite anybody who is willing to participate even those outside Bicol to join us in prayer and spirit. More than simply digital connection, may we be spiritually connected to God and to one another. Sararo kita sa pag-arang!

We make this call and request for common and united prayer, as we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifices of all our frontliners and all those working very hard to stop the pandemic. We express our closeness to the sick, those at risk, the vulnerable and those in difficulty. We support and encourage acts of kindness and generosity to ease the pains brought by this crisis. We are humbled and edified by the heroism of those who have offered their lives. We remember and pray for the eternal repose of the souls of those who died because of Covid-19 and as we pray for consolation and strength for their families. We entrust ourselves to the Divine Mercy.

May Our Ina, Nuestra Señora de Penafrancia, keep us and protect us from Covid-19; and may the Divine Mercy, be upon us all. ‘Magin sararo lugod kita sa pag-arang; asin sararo sa pagtarabang.’

In Solidarity with Bicol Bishops,

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