MULTIMEDIA

Sunday Connections amid Luzon Lockdown

Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2020 08:43 AM | Updated as of Mar 23 2020 01:38 PM

With the enhanced community quarantine now forcing people to stay at home, some churches are now using technology to reach out to their respective congregations.

Ministers or church staff are using the most accessible and ready-made tools for the occasion without much tinkering: smartphones and Facebook Live. The more tech-savvy ones reach for their laptops and camera, and pair it with software that are more associated with game streaming.

Others have also found creative ways to involve church members living separately in the service using messaging apps and video call services.

For EDSA Shrine guest priest Fr. Larry Abaco​, regardless of the physical distance, believers are not separated from the love of God.

"We may not be physically present, but in spirit we are one in Christ and we are united in prayer. And we want to give this feeling to the people, even though you are not able to come to the church, still we are united in prayer. God has not abandoned us, the Church is not abandoning you, we are still close to you in the internet, which is also a gift of God." 

Connecting the vulnerable

While virtual worship keeps others connected spiritually at home, others reach out to give others, even for a time, a home amid the lockdown.

De La Salle University Manila and De La Salle-College of St. Benilde have taken in the homeless of Manila after a center in Tayuman was forced to close by barangay officials and members of the Philippine National Police for violating guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine.

Around 79 people are staying at DLSU-Manila's sports center while another group of 70 people stay at Benilde's covered court.

Fr. Flavie Villanueva, head of the Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center, aims to provide the 3 pillars in combating COVID-19 which is hygiene, food and sustenance, and quarantine to the vulnerable, all in one place and in what he calls a "safe space.”

”Walang sisigaw sa kanila, walang magtataboy sa kanila. They are safe here and as always we would treat them with respect, because that is what they deserve."

Software architect and Caloocan Bible Church's music ministry leader Eliel Goco coordinates and broadcasts a livestream of their church's worship on Sunday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Members of the church comment as the service is transmitted on Facebook Live. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Goco does this in his home in Malabon with other members of the worship team fulfilling their using messaging apps either via video call or audio call depending on their connection capability. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

This allows the worship pastor to fulfill his part in the service. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Pastoral staff and their family members staying at the Kapatirang Kristiano ng San Juan in San Juan City hold a livestream worship service on Sunday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Technology allows parishioners to hear mass even as the quarantine is ongoing. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

More technologically adept church-members use advanced software mixed in with Facebook Live for a more immersive experience. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

The parish staff at EDSA Shrine in Quezon City hold a livestream worship service on Sunday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Fr. Larry Abaco is shown on a mobile phone screen during mass. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

De La Salle University-Manila temporarily houses homeless people at their sports center amid the enhanced community quarantine on Sunday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Volunteers and the people staying set up sleeping areas with some space in between to follow social distancing guidelines. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

The initiative is in partnership with the Divine Word Missionaries through their KAin, LIgo ng Ayos (KALINGA) program. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde also temporarily houses homeless people at their covered court. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Some 70 people are staying in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde while around 79 are staying in De La Salle University. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Most of them are from a center in Tayuman that was closed down barangay officials and members of the Philippine National Police for violating guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News