MANILA - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines issued Wednesday an "Oratio Imperata" or a special prayer imploring protection from the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the CBCP enjoined all parishes in the country of at least 80 million Roman Catholics to recite the prayer beginning Sunday, Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
The "oratio" is expected to be offered in Masses during weekdays and Sundays, after the Holy Communion.
"In praying, we invite ourselves with all our brothers and sisters suffering with the disease brought by the virus, bring up to God our longing for them to be restored to full health and humbly pray that we may be spared form infection of this virus," said Rev. Fr. Marvin Mejia, the CBCP's secretary general.
The CBCP is also recommending the following:
1. Communion in the hand be practiced ordinarily to help prevent further fear from people who are reasonably cautious about this matter;
2. Regularly check and change the Holy Water in the Holy Water fonts in churches;
3. Provide/install protective cloth on the grills of confessionals; and,
4. Discourage hand-holding during the singing or praying of the "Our Father" and the shaking of hand during the Sign of Peace.
"Let it also be our pastoral duty to remind our faithful to heed the health recommendation of medical experts and officials so that we prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease," Mejia added.
The CBCP is advising parishes, churches, and chapels dedicated to St. Raphael the Archangel and St. Roch (Roche or Roque) to make special prayers and penitential processions. The two are considered patrons in times of pestilence and spread of incurable illnesses.
Below is the full text of the prayer:
God our Father
we come to You in our need
to ask Your protection against the 2019 N-coronavirus
that has claimed lives
and has affected many.
We pray for Your grace
for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause
of this virus and its disease
and of stemming the tide of its transmission.
Guide the hands and minds of medical experts
that they may minister to the sick
with competence and compassion
and of those governments and private agencies
that must find cure and solution to this epidemic.
We pray for those afflicted.
May they be restored to health soon.
Grant us the grace
to work for the good of all
and to help those in need.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son
who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever. Amen.
The new strain of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has already killed more than 100 people, and infected nearly 6,000 others.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has no confirmed case of 2019-nCov infection.