St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City. FB photo
BALANGA CITY — Bishop Ruperto C. Santos on Monday announced that the doors of all churches in this province will again be closed to the public and will revert to live streaming of the celebration of the Holy Masses from August 4 to 16.
“We unite and cooperate with our local government. We desire public safety. Our priority is other’s well-being and their swift and uneventful recovery. We do not want to have regrets in the end. Life is more important and valuable. We want everyone to live and thrive,” the prelate said.
When Bataan was placed under modified general community quarantine, churches were opened to the public to attend the Holy Masses but on a limited number and following safety protocols.
The bishop, however, noted that the coronavirus disease in Bataan is still prevalent and that it has not subsided.
“On the contrary, it had gotten worse. Just this past week, our Covid–19 positive cases have doubled. We are all struggling and burdened. We have become apprehensive as we are all at risk and in danger of contamination,” Santos said.
He noted that the virus, “our enemy, is invisible and does not discriminate but can infect anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
“Our battle to defeat this virus is very challenging and still a long way to go. We must act, make a move and step back. This means that we stay at home, avoid crowded places, and stop mingling with others,” the bishop said.
Likening the situation to chess, he said there are many moves that can be made. However, to win the game, the move is not always forward but move backward, sideways, or diagonally, depending on the chess piece.
“There is also a famous saying, ‘it is necessary sometimes to take one step backward to take two steps forward’,“ Santos said.
Santos said he issued the pastoral directive of temporarily closing the doors of churches in the province also in consideration of the plight of healthcare workers.
“Our healthcare workers are laboring nonstop and tirelessly to defeat this coronavirus. They continue to serve and care. They put their lives on the line by taking care of us. Our hospitals are already full of positive patients and suspects,” he said.
Santos said they will dedicate the celebration of the Holy Eucharist every Wednesday as an offering to all the healthcare workers, most especially in Bataan. At the end of the Holy Mass, the Prayer for the Healthcare Workers, will be prayed.
Prayer for healthcare workers
Here is the prayer: “O merciful Father and loving God, open the gates of heaven and hear our fervent prayers as we lift up to you our healthcare workers. You know their deepest needs. We are grateful that You give them to us as Your helping and healing hands. We are thankful for their service and sacrifice.
Protect our healthcare workers as they fight the pandemic on the frontlines. Sustain them with courage as they face these critical moments. Refresh their tired minds and bodies. Cover them in Your providence that they may focus their belief and trust You are moving on their behalf.
O Almighty God, may our healthcare workers feel Your steadfast love when they are afraid. Grant them the courage and strength they need to perform their tasks. Provide them the protection they need to stay safe and away from harm. Strengthen their immunitiesand keep them healthy.
O loving God, we humbly ask these things knowing You are moved by our faithful prayers in the name of Your most precious son, Jesus, we pray, Amen.
Virgen del Rosario del Pueblo de Orani, pray for us. St. Joseph, pray for us.”