MANILA - Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and "socio-political turmoil," Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has called for a 21-day prayer for national healing.
In a letter addressed to the priest and the faithful in his archdiocese, the prelate set the period of prayer beginning Thursday, July 16, which coincides with the feast of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and will run until August 5, the memorial of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.
"We feel clouds of helplessness and discouragement hovering over us and our brothers and sisters.," Villegas said.
"The anxiety caused by the current pandemic and the socio-political turmoil born from various social issues render us not knowing what to do, how to serve as spiritual leaders and how to be disciples with the disciples of the Lord in crisis."
Villegas explained that the No. 21 is a significant reference to the 21 rebellious acts of the Israelites after the liberation from Egypt.
"We are in a state of rebellion against God and we are seeing the consequences of our sin. We must repent. We must be consecrated again if we wish to be healed," the archbishop said.
The former president of the country's bishops conference has prescribed a prayer for national healing to be recited after the post communion prayer.
There will also we a Mass in honor of Mary at the Basilica of Manaoag, but only for select individuals, including diocesan priests and religious, due to limitations set by the government to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"Let us not give in to discouragement and depression. Let us go to our Lady. Let us take comfort in the message of Our Lady to San Juan Diego: 'Trust in me. I am your mother,'" the archbishop added.
There are now more than 58,000 reported COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with more than 36,000 still active cases.