MANILA - Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle appealed to the Catholic faithful around the world to find meaning in the coronavirus crisis grappling the world to celebrate and better appreciate the Lenten Season.
"Maganda siguro hanapin din ano kaya idudulot nitong krisis na ito sa ating wastong pagdiriwang ng kwaresma. Tatlo po ang disiplina ng Kwaresma: pagaayuno o fasting, pagkakawanggawa [o] alms giving, at panalangin, prayer," said Tagle.
(Let’s find the silver lining in this crisis to better celebrate the Lenten Season. Lent’s three disciplines are fasting, alms giving and prayer.)
In a message posted on video sharing site YouTube on March 11, Tagle urged Filipinos to continue the obligation of praying and fasting and extending help to those in need, particularly in this time of crisis.
"Magtulungan tayo sa pamamagitan ng pagaayuno sa hindi mahalaga, pagkakawanggawa sa mga nangangailangan at manalangin na may tiwala sa panginoon," he said.
(Let’s help in terms of fasting from unnecessary things, helping those in need, praying and trusting God.)
The former Manila Archbishop said fasting can also be in the form of staying away from old habits like shopping or watching movies.
"Baka ito ang paalala sa atin na ang mundo, na nasanay na tayo na lahat ng gusto natin ay makukuha natin, maging simple. Piliin kung ano talaga ang mahalaga at mag-ayuno," he said.
(Maybe this is a reminder for us to live simply. Choose only things that are important.)
As of March 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there have been 132,758 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) globally and nearing 5,000 deaths.
The Philippines has recorded a total of 64 cases of the coronavirus, including patients with no known travel history. Of this number, 6 have died.
Government is placing Metro Manila under community quarantine starting Sunday, March 15 until Tuesday, April 14 in a bid to contain the virus.
The quarantine period will cover the Holy Week, which starts on April 5, and Easter Sunday falling on April 12.
Masses in the region have been canceled until March 20.
"Alam ko maraming nagpapanic-buying at mayroon din naman siguro pinagsasamantalahan ang pagkakataon para kumita pa para sa pangangailangan ng iba. Sana po kung mayroon ka, magbahagi," he said.
(I know there’s panic-buying and opportunistic people using the crisis to earn. If we have something to spare, let’s share it.)
Instead of fear and panic, he urged everyone to pray and turn to God.
"Kilalanin natin siya, sundin ang kaniyang kalooban, makinig sa kaniyang salita at isagawa ang kaniyang bilin. Iyan ang panalangin," he said.
(Let’s get to know God, follow and listen to his Words. That’s the prayer.)
Tagle delivered the message from the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, Italy, where residents have also been grappling with the coronavirus crisis.
The former Manila archbishop was earlier named new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican.