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Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on the Suspension Of Public Masses From Aug. 3-14, 2020

WE LISTEN THAT WE MAY HAVE LIFE

My dear people of God in the Diocese of Cubao,

In recent days, we have seen the alarming and sustained increase of Covid-19 cases in the country. Most of the active cases are from Metro Manila where businesses have reopened. The total infected is about to breach the 100,000 mark, and experts are forecasting even more dismal numbers in the months to come. The health system is creaking at critical stage, with hospital beds for coronavirus patients running out.

But what is even more concerning is the urgent appeal of the medical front-liners for a “time out”. Exhausted, overwhelmed by the steady deluge of the sick, and sometimes even taken ill, they remain dedicated in their commitment. They are not throwing in the towel or cowering from their tasks. They are imploring for a “time out” to get their bearings back, to breathe and to energize for the burgeoning task ahead.

In today’s reading, Isaiah exhorts us to “Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life.” (Is. 55:3)

The Diocese of Cubao is listening and will act on their call.

From August 3 to 14, the Diocese is suspending public liturgical services in all its parishes. Our online services and religious activities will continue. We will allow our front-liners to breathe, our government to assess and proactively respond to the situation, our Church to evaluate how we can better help our brothers and sisters who are suffering in this situation. We enjoin everyone to be diligent in practicing simple health protocols such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and frequent washing of hands. Our compliance will help save lives and stem this virus.

I pray that all of you keep open minds, open hearts and open hands at this crucial time. Your understanding, compassion and generosity are key in helping us tide these challenges and alleviate our people’s suffering. We cannot turn a deaf ear to the distressed and do nothing. Even as we temporarily suspend public worship, I pray that we will actively do our part to help. As our Lord Jesus instructs his disciples in the feeding of multitude in today’s Gospel, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves” (Mt 14:16).

May our loving God protect and heal us all.

In Jesus, I remain,

Bishop Honesto Ongtioco
Diocese of Cubao

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