The Philippines, through its archdioceses and dioceses, will be consecrated to the care of the Blessed Mother amid the coronavirus pandemic, reported CBCP News.
The bishops are expected to lead the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in their respective cathedrals on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela City has earlier invited the bishops to celebrate the feast “in a special way”.
“I think this is a wonderful initiative,” Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the episcopal conference, stated in his letter to the dioceses on April 27.
This consecration reaffirms the bishops’ previous consecrations of the Philippines to Mary. In 2013, during the Year of Faith, the CBCP also consecrated the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In Manila, Bishop Broderick Pabillo will lead the prayer of consecration at the cathedral on May 13, which is also the 103rd anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
The prayer, he said, will also be joined by the mayors of the five cities covering the archdiocese: Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Makati, and San Juan.
“It will be beautiful when all the people God, led by their civil and religious leaders, put themselves under the protection of the Blessed Virgin,” Pabillo said.
The archdiocese, starting next month, will also hold a series of catechetical instructions online on the meaning and implication of such consecration.
From May 10, the archdiocese will start a “triduum” of daily penance and rosary which will culminate on the common act of consecration on May 13.
“We do this to implore the protection of the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother in this difficult time, especially as we move to the transition to a new way of life after the quarantine,” Pabillo added.
“We need strength from above, and we have a powerful intercessor in Mama Mary to get that heavenly help,” he also said.
Pope Francis has earlier encouraged the faithful to pray the rosary during the whole month of May.
In a letter addressed to all Catholics and released by the Vatican April 25, he noted that it is a tradition to pray the rosary at home with family during May.
“Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial,” the pope said.
On Good Friday, the Liturgy of the Passion with the Adoration of the Cross, will take place in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Crucifix of St. Marcellus will be covered. The Preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, will deliver a meditation, after which the Crucifix will be revealed. Adoration will follow, without the traditional kissing of the Cross.
Below please find the full text of his Sermon from Vatican News:“I HAVE PLANS FOR YOUR WELFARE AND NOT FOR WOE” Sermon for Good Friday 2020 in St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Gregory the Great said that Scripture “grows with its readers”, cum legentibus crescit. It reveals meanings always new according to the questions people have in their hearts as they read it. And this year we read the account of the Passion with a question—rather with a cry—in our hearts that is rising up over the whole earth. We need to seek the answer that the word of God gives it.The Gospel reading we have just listened to is the account of the objectively greatest evil committed on earth. We can look at it from two different angles: either from the front or from the back, that is, either from its causes or from its effects. If we stop at the historical causes of Christ’s death, we get confused and everyone will be tempted to say, as Pilate did, “I am innocent of this man’s blood” (Mt 27:24). The cross is better understood by its effects than by its causes. And what were the effects of Christ’s death? Being justified through faith in him, being reconciled and at peace with God, and being filled with the hope of eternal life! (see Rom 53:1-5).But there is one effect that the current situation can help us to grasp in particular. The cross of Christ has changed the meaning of pain and human suffering—of every kind of suffering, physical and moral. It is no longer punishment, a curse. It was redeemed at its root when the Son of God took it upon himself. What is the surest proof that the drink someone offers you is not poisoned? It is if that person drinks from the same cup before you do. This is what God has done: on the cross he drank, in front of the whole world, the cup of pain down to its dregs. This is how he showed us it is not poisoned, but that there is a pearl at the bottom of it.And not only the pain of those who have faith, but of every human pain. He died for all human beings: “And when I am lifted up from the earth,” he said, “I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn 12:32). Everyone, not just some! St. John Paul II wrote from his hospital bed after his attempted assassination, “To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ.” Thanks to the cross of Christ, suffering has also become in its own way a kind of “universal sacrament of salvation” for the human race.***What light does all of this shed on the dramatic situation that humanity is going through now? Here too we need to look at the effects more than at the causes—not just the negative ones we hear about every day in heart-wrenching reports but also the positive ones that only a more careful observation can help us grasp.The pandemic of Coronavirus has abruptly roused us from the greatest danger individuals and humanity have always been susceptible to: the delusion of omnipotence. A Jewish rabbi has written that we have the opportunity to celebrate a very special paschal exodus this year, that “from the exile of consciousness” . It took merely the smallest and most formless element of nature, a virus, to remind us that we are mortal, that military power and technology are not sufficient to save us. As a psalm in the Bible says, “In his prime, man does not understand. / He is like the beasts—they perish” (Ps 49:21). How true that is!While he was painting frescoes in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the artist James Thornhill became so excited at a certain point about his fresco that he stepped back to see it better and was unaware he was about to fall over the edge of the scaffolding. A horrified assistant understood that crying out to him would have only hastened the disaster. Without thinking twice, he dipped a brush in paint and hurled it at the middle of the fresco. The master, appalled, sprang forward. His work was damaged, but he was saved.God does this with us sometimes: he disrupts our projects and our calm to save us from the abyss we don’t see. But we need to be careful not to be deceived. God is not the one who hurled the brush at the sparkling fresco of our technological society. God is our ally, not the ally of the virus! He himself says in the Bible, “I have . . . plans for your welfare and not for woe” (Jer 29:11). If these scourges were punishments of God, it would not be explained why they strike equally good and bad, and why the poor usually bear the worst consequences of them. Are they more sinners than others?The one who cried one day for Lazarus’ death cries today for the scourge that has fallen on humanity. Yes, God “suffers”, like every father and every mother. When we will find out this one day, we will be ashamed of all the accusations we made against him in life. God participates in our pain to overcome it. “Being supremely good – wrote St. Augustine – God would not allow any evil in his works, unless in his omnipotence and goodness, he is able to bring forth good out of evil.”Did God the Father possibly desire the death of his Son in order to draw good out of it? No, he simply permitted human freedom to take its course, making it serve, however, his own purposes and not those of human beings. This is also the case for natural disasters like earthquakes and plagues. He does not bring them about. He has given nature a kind of freedom as well, qualitatively different of course than that of human beings, but still a form of freedom—freedom to evolve according to its own laws of development. He did not create a world as a programmed clock whose least little movement could be anticipated. It is what some call “chance” but the Bible calls instead “the wisdom of God.”***The other positive fruit of the present health crisis is the feeling of solidarity. When, in the memory of humanity, have the people of all nations ever felt themselves so united, so equal, so less in conflict than at this moment of pain? Never so much as now have we experienced the truth of the words of one of our great poets: “Peace, you peoples! Too deep is the mystery of the prostrate earth.” We have forgotten about building walls. The virus knows no borders. In an instant it has broken down all the barriers and distinctions of race, nation, religion, wealth, and power. We should not revert to that prior time when this moment has passed. As the Holy Father has exhorted us, we should not waste this opportunity. Let us not allow so much pain, so many deaths, and so much heroic engagement on the part of health workers to have been in vain. Returning to the way things were is the “recession” we should fear the most.They shall beat their swords into plowsharesand their spears into pruning hooks;One nation shall not raise the sword against another,nor shall they train for war again. (Is 2:4)This is the moment to put into practice something of the prophecy of Isaiah whose fulfillment humanity has long been waiting for. Let us say “Enough!” to the tragic race toward arms. Say it with all your might, you young people, because it is above all your destiny that is at stake. Let us devote the unlimited resources committed to weapons to the goals that we now realize are most necessary and urgent: health, hygiene, food, the fight against poverty, stewardship of creation. Let us leave to the next generation a world poorer in goods and money, if need be, but richer in its humanity.***The word of God tells us the first thing we should do at times like these is to cry out to God. He himself is the one who puts on people’s lips the words to cry out to him, at times harsh words of lament and almost of accusation: “Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? / Rise up! Do not reject us forever! . . . Rise up, help us! / Redeem us in your mercy” (Ps 44, 24, 27). “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38). Does God perhaps like to be petitioned so that he can grant his benefits? Can our prayer perhaps make God change his plans? No, but there are things that God has decided to grant us as the fruit both of his grace and of our prayer, almost as though sharing with his creatures the credit for the benefit received. God is the one who prompts us to do it: “Seek and you will find,” Jesus said; “knock and the door will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7).When the Israelites were bitten by poisonous serpents in the desert, God commanded Moses to lift up a serpent of bronze on a pole, and whoever looked at it would not die. Jesus appropriated this symbol to himself when he told Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14-15). We too at this moment have been bitten by an invisible, poisonous “serpent.” Let us gaze upon the one who was “lifted up” for us on the cross. Let us adore him on behalf of ourselves and of the whole human race. The one who looks on him with faith does not die. And if that person dies, it will be to enter eternal life.”After three days I will rise”, Jesus had foretold (cf. Mt Mt 27:63). We too, after these days that we hope will be short, shall rise and come out of the tombs of our homes. Not however to return to the former life like Lazarus, but to a new life, like Jesus. A more fraternal, more human, more Christian life!______________________________Translated from Italian by Marsha Daigle-Williamson, Ph.D. Moralia in Job, XX, 1.  John Paul II, Salvifici doloris [On the Meaning of Human Suffering], n. 23.  https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/coronavirus-a-spiritual-message-from-brooklyn (Yaakov Yitzhak Biderman).  See St. Augustine, Enchiridion 11, 3; PL 40, 236.  Giovanni Pascoli, “I due fanciulli” [“The Two Children”].  See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologicae, II-IIae, q. 83, a. 2.Push Play button on Video in Progress: Follow along in the Booklet provided by the Vatican: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2020/20200410-libretto-venerdi-passione.pdf
Catholic Churches in the Philippines have opened its doors to medical workers and other frontline personnel seeking shelter as Luzon remained on lockdown due to the threat of COVID-19.
According to Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and to the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), food and shelter for health workers and hospital staff are readily available at the following:
St. Mary’s College (37 Mother Ignacia Ave., Diliman, QC)
St. Anthony’s Shrine (254 Manrique St., Sampaloc, Manila)
Convent of the Holy Spirit (Immaculate Concepcion, 1111 Poinsettia St., QC)
Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent (2499 Beata St., Pandacan, Manila)
Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Guia (M.H. Del Pilar Street, Ermita, Manila)
OFM Provincial House – San Pedro Bautista Province (69 San Pedro St., SFDM, QC)
St. John Bosco Parish Makati (Antonio Arnaiz Avenue cor. Amorsolo Street Makati)
Parish of Sacred Heart
Paco Catholic School
Malate Catholic School
Pius Catholic Center
“Ang mga binubuksan na simbahan ‘yun po ay para sa mga medical frontliners na kailangan may matirhan,” Pabillo said
“Patuloy ang mga paring nagmimisa pero wala lang public participation. Nasa online na lang. Hanggang magsabi ang gobyerno kung kailan pwede nang mag congregate ang mga tao.”
Some schools also allow street dwellers to temporarily reside in their facilities, Pabillo added.
“We are collaborating with these hospitals to make room for those who need it the most. Despite what we’re facing globally, we are in faith that God will give us the grace to serve one another in love,” it said.
“God is with us in this faith-stretching time, and we trust that He holds everything in His hands. Indeed, His purpose will be accomplished. God bless us all,” it said.
Caritas Manila, in partnership with business groups, will distribute grocery vouchers to urban poor residents in the Metro Manila area through “Project Damayan.” and will giving away P1,000 gift checks to those who are in need, in coordination with local governments, Pabillo said.
“Kaugnayan po natin ang business communities. Sila po ang naglikom ng pera at pinadaan sa Caritas Manila. Ang Caritas Manila naman pinapadaan sa mga parokya. Ang mga parokya pumupunta kasama ang local governments para mamigay ng gift checks na ito,” he said.
Priests are taking precautions and are placing themselves under self-quarantine if they show signs and symptoms of the respiratory illness, Pabillo said.
“Wala pa namang naveverify na positive. Sila ay nag-iingat na lang, pag may nararamdaaman sila at hindi pa natetest ay nagse-self-quarantine na lang muna sila,” he said.
DOH announces 227 new COVID-19 cases; total at 2,311
Whatever your need in life is, there is a patron saint who is standing by to help you.
By Thomas J. Craughwell
For centuries, the saints of the Roman Catholic Church have served as both inspirations and intercessors. From the lives they lived to their deaths–many as martyrs–they serve as an example of what a devout and holy life can be. They embody the virtues that most of us only strive for on our best days.
Many people also look to saints as intercessors who can understand our earthly struggles and will join us in prayers to God for assistance. While there are saints associated with all sorts of situations and conditions (there’s even a saint for the Internet) the seven saints featured here are associated with illness and chronic health conditions.
St. Anne (First century)
The Patron Saint of Infertility
According to a second-century apocryphal work called The Protoevangelium of James, Anne lived with her husband Joachim for many years without bearing a child. But at long last God sent an angel to announce to Anne that she would become pregnant and give birth to a daughter. The angel also promised Anne that her child would be spoken of around the world. “Now I know the Lord God has blessed me exceedingly,” Anne said to Joachim. “I, the childless, shall conceive.” Anne and Joachim’s daughter was, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Since St. Anne is the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus, Christians have always believed that her prayers must have great influence in heaven. Devotion to St. Anne is especially strong among women who long for children but have a hard time becoming pregnant.
St. Juliana Falconieri (1270-1341)
The Patron Saint of Chronic Illness
Juliana Falconieri grew up among saints. Her uncle, St. Alexis Falconieri, was one of the seven founders of the Servite order. The priest who taught her as a child and acted as her spiritual director was St. Philip Benizi, one of the early superiors of the Servites. Inspired by the holiness around her, Juliana decided to affiliate herself with the Servites as a nun. Juliana added works of charity to the Servite way of life by going out into the streets of Florence to help the sick, the helpless, and the abandoned.
Because of her own struggle with sickness, St. Juliana became the patron of people suffering from any type of chronic illness. During the last years of her life, she was plagued by an undiagnosed stomach ailment. Eventually the illness proved fatal. As she lay dying, she was seized by such a severe bout of vomiting that the attendant priest deemed her unable to receive Holy Communion. Instead, at Juliana’s request, he covered her chest with a corporal (a linen cloth) and laid the consecrated host over her heart. According to the story, the Eucharist vanished a few moments later.
St. Agatha (About 250)
The Patron Saint of Breast Ailments
Many a history textbook describes the ancient Romans as noble, enlightened, and civilized–even though their judicial system perpetrated some of the most gruesome crimes imaginable. The Romans believed that criminals (a category that included Christians) were less than human, so brutalizing them was perfectly acceptable.
By these standards, the agonies experienced by St. Agatha were just business as usual. Her troubles began with a consul named Quintianus. As the man who governed Sicily, Quintianus could have whatever he wanted–and he wanted Agatha. But she was a wealthy Christian who had consecrated her virginity to God, and she turned him down flat. Enraged by the rejection, Quintianus ordered Agatha to be arrested and stretched on the rack. Despite excruciating pain, she refused to renounce her faith or accept him as a lover. He then instructed the executioners to slice off her breasts.
Agatha was unconscious as the jailers carried her to a prison cell and left her to die. Then St. Peter arrived, descending from heaven, and restored her breasts. When the jailers reported that Agatha was alive and healthy, Quintianus had her rolled over hot coals until she died.
Because of the mutilation endured during her martyrdom, she has always been the patron of women suffering from any type of breast ailment. In recent years, she has been invoked especially against breast cancer.
St Peregrine Laziosi 1260-1335
The Patron Saint of Cancer
Peregrine Laziosi’s conversion came about in the middle of a street brawl. He was one of the young hotheads of Forli, an Italian town that had sided with the holy Roman emperor in his power struggle with the Pope. The priest St. Philip Benizi was dispatched to urge the Forlians to come back to the Church. Peregrine Laziosi charged across the piazza, grabbed the front of St. Philip’s religious habit, and struck him hard across the face. In response Philip turned the other cheek, waiting for another blow. Faced with such perfect Christ-like meekness, Peregrine’s rage turned to shame. He joined St. Philip’s religious order and became a Servite priest.
For many years Peregrine suffered from an acute pain in his right leg. It was eventually found to be cancer. In a last-ditch effort to save the priest’s life, the physician planned to amputate. The night before surgery, the suffering Peregrine dragged himself to the life-size crucifix that hung in the monastery. He sat at the foot of the cross and prayed until he fell asleep, dreaming of Christ climbing down from the cross and touching his cancerous limb. When he awoke, the wound on his knee had healed and not a trace of the cancer remained.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591)
The Patron Saint of AIDS Patients and Caregivers
As the eldest son and heir of a wealthy family in 16th century Spain, Aloysius was expected to marry well, raise a family, expand the Gonzagas’ wealth and influence, and, if the opportunity arose, slaughter their enemies. Yet secretly he was planning to renounce his title and become a Jesuit priest. At age fifteen, he revealed his intentions to his parents. He gave up his inheritance and set off to become a Jesuit novitiate in Rome.
Aloysius was aggressive and unyielding, with a pronounced antagonistic streak. He brought the same ferocious energy to religious life that his ancestors had carried onto the battlefield.
Suspecting that the young nobleman needed to learn the virtues of obedience and humility, the Jesuit superior sent Aloysius to work in one of the city’s hospitals. Aloysius did as he was told, but he loathed every minute of it. It took all his Gonzaga willpower to get through each day.
Aloysius had a change of heart, however. In January 1591 a terrible epidemic struck Rome. Soon the city’s hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, so convents and monasteries threw open their doors. Aloysius went out every day to collect the sick and dying. He found beds for them, washed them, fed them, comforted them, and prayed with them. Sadly, his heroic service lasted only a few weeks; he himself fell victim to the epidemic and died.
In recent years, AIDS patients and their caregivers have adopted as their patron St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the man who overcame his fear of the sick and the dying and became their most kindhearted nurse.
St. James the Greater (First century)
The Patron Saint of Arthritis and Rheumatism
One of the first apostles to join Jesus, St. James was also the first such follower to be martyred. Of the twelve apostles, St. James, his brother St. John the Evangelist, and St. Peter formed a privileged inner circle. Christ allowed them to witness miracles the other apostles only heard about later: the raising from the dead of Jairus’s young daughter, the healing of St. Peter’s mother-in-law, and Christ’s display of his heavenly glory at the Transfiguration. While the other apostles carried the gospel to far-off lands, James stuck close to home, preaching in Judea and Samaria. Consequently, when King Herod Agrippa began to round up Christians, James was easy to find. He was arrested, given a quick trial, and beheaded.
Legend tells us that as the king’s men led James outside Jerusalem for execution, he passed a man crippled by arthritis or rheumatism who was sitting by the side of the road. The man begged James to cure him. Pausing for a moment on his way to martyrdom, James said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, for whom I am being led to execution, stand up and bless your Creator.” As the soldiers dragged James away, the crippled man stood and then ran to the temple in the city to give thanks to God. That’s the type of cure people who suffer arthritis pain pray for.
Blessed Margaret of Castello (1287-1320)
The Patron Saint of Disabilities
Blessed Margaret’s life is one of the most heart-wrenching stories in the roster of saints. She was born blind and with severe curvature of the spine; her right leg was an inch and a half shorter than her left, and her left arm was malformed. She never grew taller than four feet.
Her parents kept little Margaret hidden away in their house in Metola, in the Italian province of Umbria. When Margaret was six years old, the family traveled to a shrine at Castello, hoping for a miracle. When none took place, her mother and father abandoned her.
Some women of Castello found the terrified child and took care of her. A husband and wife, Venfarino and Grigia, adopted Margaret and treated her with love and kindness as their own daughter. She appears to have spent the rest of her life with them.
Margaret’s disabilities did not make her bitter; rather, she became one of the most generous, sympathetic people in Castello. She nursed the sick, consoled the dying, and visited prisoners. She regarded her own disabilities as a means to unite her pain with the suffering Christ endured on the cross. Her courage, patience, and deep religious devotion won her the affection of everyone in town.
At Margaret’s funeral, the crowd was immense. The parish priest planned to bury Margaret in the churchyard, but the mourners insisted that she have a tomb inside the church, alongside the other distinguished dead of Castello. The priest was still arguing the point when a girl whose legs were crippled dragged herself to Margaret’s coffin. She touched the casket and then stood up and began to walk. The priest gave Margaret a tomb inside the church.