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THE CHURCH MAY BE CLOSED, BUT HER HEART IS OPEN AND HER HANDS ARE WORKING

Jerome R. Secillano, MPA

One silver lining in this era of COVID 19 is the discovery of our innate capacity to sacrifice for the sake of the greater good.
Everyone is sacrificing. Others though have done more so that others may live.

The frontliners especially our health practitioners are basically offering their lives for the sake of others. Some said that it’s their duty to do so, but under this extreme situation, what they’re doing is beyond the call of duty. Indeed, our frontliners are living examples of what Jesus said, “No greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (John 15:13).

The Church may not have the financial largesse to support these frontliners, but it did not prevent her from providing them food and shelter. The Nstra. Sra. De Guia Shrine in Ermita is temporarily accomodating 19 nurses, nursings aides, and hospital clerks from Manila Doctors Hospital. The Don Bosco Parish in Makati has transformed its chapels to sleeping rooms for Makati Medical Center personnel. Quiapo Church continues to donate bed cushions and blankets to San Lazaro Hospital. The Most Holy Trinity Church in Balic-Balic is now ready to welcome 50 more with food and drink provisions. Edsa Shrine is also ready to accommodate 6 more of our frontliners. Churches in and around Makati and Ermita are all gearing up and transforming their halls and chapels to welcome more hospital personnel around.

Caritas Manila with the help of parishes in the whole of Metro Manila has so far distributed millions of Gift Certificates to poor and destitute families. Hundreds of street-dwellers have also been rounded up and are now housed at Paco Catholic School and Quiapo Church and continuously fed by these institutions.

When President Duterte called on private institutions, in his media conference last night, to help the poor, the Church has been exactly doing the same even without being told.

The Church is not in the habit of bragging things of this nature, hence, no mainstream media is reporting on these. I am sharing this not to brag but to simply assure our frontliners that they have an ally in us.

The Church recognizes their heroic efforts and it is only right and just that we do something for them even in small ways. Yes, we are praying for them, but concretely, we also want to help them.

Worth noting, too, are the contributions of AFP and PNP personnel, Barangay officials, street sweepers, delivery boys and garbage collectors. Let’s hope that under the emergency powers given to the President you will not be forgotten and that you will be richly rewarded too.

We are not prepared to combat an invisible enemy, but it has at least awaken in us a deep sense of solidarity and generosity that slowly guides us to live simply in this extremely difficult situation.

We remember those who died in the performance of their duty. May their souls rest in peace. Not all are called to die for others, but all are called to simply live our faith. This lenten and holy week celebration in the time of Covid 19 is giving us tremendous opportunity to live our faith through our sacrifices and selflessness for the sake of others in need.