MANILA - The Archdiocese of Manila on Tuesday urged the public to join them in prayer and fasting on June 1 as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
Apostolic Administrator of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo underscored the importance of the activity in his pastoral instruction titled "We Humble Ourselves", reminding Filipinos to beg for God's mercy and forgiveness during the difficult time.
"We are nearly 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are grateful for the scientific and medical progress being done to stop this pestilence, as a community of faith, we unceasingly use the resources of our faith to call upon us heavenly help," said Pabillo.
The bishop raised the question whether Filipinos have "prayed enough" and whether they sought God's help amid the threat of COVID-19, which already killed nearly 20,000 and infected more than 1.184 million in the Philippines to date.
"We have been praying since day one of the pandemic. But have we prayed enough? Have we really humbled ourselves? Do we strive to seek the will of God and be pleasing to him? Has each of us turned from our sins and begged for pardon?" Pabillo wrote.
The day of prayer and fasting, he said, could be done inside a person's home and workplaces.
Those who want to join are urged to follow the event online.
There will also be a "communal penitential service" among priests in Quiapo Church in Manila at 8:30 a.m., where they can "confess their sins to one another."
Pabillo said this is a form of admitting their "failures" during the pandemic.
According to the pastoral instruction, it will be followed by a "penitential walk" from Quiapo Church to Sta. Cruz Church.
The walk will be made to celebrate the Eucharist and to pray for Filipinos, as well as for the needs of the country and the world while still battling the health crisis.
All parishes, meanwhile, will celebrate Mass in the afternoon to ask for forgiveness and healing.
"We may not have been courageous enough in encouraging the flock, not creative enough in serving those in need, not prayerful enough for the sake of our people. We are sorry," it read.
In mid-April, Pabillo also urged the public to set up more community pantries, to help Filipinos in need.
The Philippine Statistics Authority this month said 3.44 million Filipinos were jobless in March due to COVID-19 lockdowns.