Vatican News
Chinese tourists stranded in Manila after travel ban to China due to coronavirus Chinese tourists stranded in Manila after travel ban to China due to coronavirus  (ANSA)

Philippine archdiocese ‘Walk for Life’ and pray against spread of COVID-19

Catholics in the Philippine Archdiocese of Cebu joined the annual Walk for Life in large numbers on Saturday, not only to pray and pledge their commitment to protect and nurture human life from birth to natural death but also to pray against the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

By Robin Gomes

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cebu are urged to pray that all “threats of life” be put to a halt, including threats by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“It’s our deepest desire to bring to the Lord what troubles and concerns us. We pray for solutions on the problems happening around the world,” Archbishop Jose Palma said in his homily.

“And we pray that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic will stop,” said the archbishop in his homily at Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, which followed the dawn penitential Walk for Life procession.

The nationwide ‘Walk for Life’ organized each year by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Episcopal Commission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), aims to demonstrate “solidarity in upholding the dignity of life," from conception to natural death.

The faithful of Cebu Archdiocese gathered along a stretch of Osmeña Boulevard located just outside the Central Visayas office of the Department of Health (DOH-7) at dawn to start the procession that led them to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, where Archbishop Palma presided over the 5:30 a.m. Mass.

Archbishop Palma also urged prayers that scientists around the world be able to find the cure to COVID-19 soon and that the death toll caused by it be put to a stop.

Noting that COVID-19 has negatively impacted the country’s economy, the archbishop asked for prayers for the  Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are now affected by the travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government.

He explained that the multitude of problems makes us feel helpless at our small efforts compared to the sufferings of OFW. “That’s why we bring them to the Lord. But yet we believe miracles can be possible in this regard,” he added.

Organizers of the ‘Walk for Life’ in several parts of the country opted to cancel their event because of the fear of COVID-19 infection. Health authorities have earlier advised the public to avoid public gatherings.  

Some dioceses in other countries have taken precautions against the virus, avoiding public gatherings. 

The Archdiocese of Singapore has indefinitely suspended public Masses, until further notice.  Instead, the faithful have been urged to follow the Mass on radio and YouTube.

Hong Kong Diocese has also taken a similar measure.

The viral outbreak that began in Chinese central province of Hubei has infected more than 67,000 people globally. In mainland China, 1,523 deaths have been reported among 66,492 cases, mostly in Hubei.  Infection and deaths have been reported in other countries but on a much lesser scale. 

15 February 2020, 17:12