Archbishop Socrates Villegas
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
Christ the King Sunday during the pandemic Reverend Fathers: Life goes on despite this pandemic and certainly beyond it.
We will overcome by the power of Christ the King. It is our faith and certain hope. As we continue to observe the health protocols to prevent the further spread of Covid19, namely, frequent hand washing, wearing of protective masks and social distancing, we must now plan our church programs to observe the Solemnity of Christ the King which has always been observed with grandeur and depth in the archdiocese since time beyond remembering.
We will NOT hold any archdiocesan or vicariate observance of Christ the King as we have discussed in our vicariate meetings. Christ the King Sunday this year will be observed in the parishes, chaplaincies and pastoral stations.
The MANDATORY OBSERVANCES
1. The theme for the 2020 Christ the King will be “The Poor are Our Masters” (Saray Mairap-Bilay so Katawan Tayo or Ang Dukha ay Ating Panginoon).
2. The Act of Consecration of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King a copy of which is enclosed herewith must be prayed in all Masses kneeling down after the Post Communion Prayer led by the Mass presider in all Masses in the evening of November 21 and all the Masses of November 22.
3. At the most attended Mass on November 22, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed after the Post Communion Prayer. After praying the Act of Consecration to Jesus Christ King as indicated above, the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance is held in procession inside the church with acolytes, thurifer and pallium bearers. The benediction is given in the usual way.
4. Every parish, chaplaincy and pastoral station must host a LUGAW feeding brought to the barangay neighborhood and not just for the regular Sunday Mass attendees. The youth, the ministers of social action and other lay leaders may lead this activity. As an act of love for Christ the King, please prepare to feed at least one thousand poor people with lugaw for the weekend of November 21 and 22. If the low income parishes cannot afford the program, the Chancery will be ready to provide a 2-cavan rice subsidy for the program upon requisition.
5. In the nine days prior to the solemnity, the priests are encouraged to hear the confessions of the faithful (face to face properly distanced but able to hear) in the barangay communities and in the parish church. Next to the Mass, the sacrament of penance is what is most needed at this time.
6. In the nine days prior to the solemnity, please encourage the faithful to bring holy water to their homes, previously blessed in church according to the prescribed rites, for sprinkling at home after the family prayers. Although the holy water fonts remain empty in the church, we must promote the use of this sacramental in the family as a family devotion to Christ the King.
The DISCRETIONARY OBSERVANCES
1. As the parish priest sees fit and pastorally beneficial, a motorcade of the Blessed Sacrament may be done at a most opportune time of November 22 or even for the nine days prior to the Solemnity of Christ the King, so that the home bound, the sick and the elderly may be blessed for the occasion. Needless to say the local government officials must be informed for purposes of security and traffic. This motorcade procession must NOT replace the indoor procession and benediction mentioned among the obligatory observances.
2. In the nine days prior to the solemnity, Confirmation and First Communion to children, in batches not more than ten, may be done in barangay chapels and barangay open spaces, observing the mandatory confessions and catechetical instructions prior to reception and the diligent recording in the canonical books.
3. In the nine days prior to the solemnity, the priests assisted by the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and catechists visit the homes of the sick and home bound and administer the anointing of the sick with Holy Communion. The poor and the sick are our masters.
The PROHIBITED OBSERVANCES
1. In the name of pastoral prudence and with a sense of social responsibility, we must not hold any large gatherings, as we have done in the past during Christ the King, disregarding the health protocols of social distancing, face protection and hand hygiene.
2. The traditional procession on foot in the streets must not be done this year, as this attracts gatherings that may be difficult to control and manage. Indeed, so much has changed in our lives since this pandemic hit the world. Beyond the old practices that we need to cast aside and new practices we need to adopt, the kingship of Christ remains constant, the preferential option for the poor remains primary and the command to show our love for God by loving our neighbor is even clearer. The poor are our masters. We pay homage to Christ the King by reverencing the poor and the weak through our works of mercy and charity.
Sincerely yours, +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan