MANILA - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on churches across the country to ring their bells on Wednesday and join an ecumenical prayer amid the crisis brought by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a circular released on Tuesday, CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles endorsed the simultaneous ringing of church bells at 3 p.m. on April 8 to signal the start of a televised inter-faith prayer.
Valles said this is in response to the request of Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
“It will be comforting and encouraging for our people when they sense and observe that a spirit of unity and working together is there in these trying times,” the archbishop said.
According to Bishop Oscar Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, the prayer activity will be led by the Chaplain Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The AFP chaplains will assist to invoke the mighty help of God as we plead Him to heal those affected by COVID-19 and to spare us from this present pandemic,” Florencio said.
Public celebration of Holy Masses in Metro Manila and other archdioceses and dioceses in the Philippines remain suspended amid the government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Holy Week rites are set to continue but without the presence of congregations.
As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 3,764 while the death toll is at 177.
President Rodrigo Duterte extended the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine until April 30.