Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Archdiocese of Manila involves young people to help, as volunteers, in liturgies and pastoral services, in view of the desired reopening of churches, after the period of lockdown due to Covid-19. "We need more volunteers now as there are new ministries and services to be carried out, or to be strengthened in this situation", said Mgr. Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator in Manila, in a note sent to Fides.
Bishop Pabillo asked for help especially from young people, as adults and the elderly, as a precautionary measure, will be dispensed from attending Mass so as not to expose them to the risk of contracting the coronavirus. "We will have to bring the Eucharist to the sick and the elderly near their homes. We will need people to help us maintain proper physical distancing and regularly disinfect our churches", he said.
Already in recent months, the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had asked parishes to train a greater number of young people to make them become "extraordinary ministers of communion", so as to be able to help distribute the Eucharist in the territory.
"We really need younger volunteers. I would like to appeal to our elderly parish volunteers: help us recruit one or two young volunteers to take your place in pastoral services", said Mgr. Pabillo.
Maria Christine Cabato, a 23-year-old university student, says to Fides: "I am willing and happy to volunteer for church services". Marcus Garcia, a 26-year-old teacher, adds: "I am eager to be a young lay minister to bring Communion to the sick and elderly".
A service and an essential vital contribution that the elderly can still carry out in their homes - the Bishop's message emphasizes - is prayer, "which is not only important, but is indispensable in the Church". "May the elders, he added, take care to accompany church activities with spiritual and material prayers and offerings. They can be our prayer intercessors in this moment of crisis". Mgr. Pabillo expressed the hope for a forthcoming reopening of churches and the gradual resumption of liturgical services, "which we consider essential for the life of our people".
In several dioceses across the country, Masses are streamed via social media while people remain at home for health emergency reasons. With the increase in cases of contagion (reaching about 26 thousand), Metro Manila (12 million residents but about 20 million people who actually live and work in the city) is still under the status of "community quarantine", which began on March 16 with very severe restrictions on religious services. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/6/2020)