CBCP issues special prayer for deliverance from coronavirus

Ryan Tallo

THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released Wednesday, January 29, 2020, a prayer for deliverance from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The Oratio Imperata shall be prayed on weekdays and Sunday masses after the Holy Communion starting Sunday, February 2, 2020, The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

The Oratio Imperata is a set of Catholic prayers invoking liturgical action and a general prayer to be said when a grave need or calamity occurs.

This particular Oratio Imperata asks for prayers for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause of 2019-nCoV, for the medical experts to guide their hands and minds so they may minister to the sick “with competence and compassion,” for government and private agencies to find cure and solution to “this epidemic,” and for those afflicted “that may be restored to health soon.” That, as all parishes, churches, and chapels are encouraged to practice according to the recommendations issued by CBCP alongside praying the Oratio Imperata.

Guidelines are also included to tweak usual mass procedure in response to the 2019-nCoV.

Instead of directly placing the communion wafer or host in the tongue of the churchgoer, placing the host on the churchgoer’s palm or “communion by hand” shall be practiced.

Churchgoers are also discouraged from holding hands during the singing or praying of the “Our Father.” Handshaking during the Sign of Peace is also discouraged.

Holy water and holy water fonts are encouraged to be regularly checked, or changed if needed.

Protective cloths on the grills of confessionals shall also be installed.

Prior to the issuance of the Oratio Imperata, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Wednesday morning that the CBCP would be practical in responding to the 2019-nCoV as it had done the same way before during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) spread in 2003.

“(The CBCP) concern was more practical. I don’t know if they have more fears than necessary. We are monitoring. If it happens that it is worsening, we will come out with an Oratio Imperata,” Palma said. (RGT)