A woman wearing a mask visits a fresh food market in Hong Kong on January 29, 2020, as a preventative measure after a virus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
AFP/Dale De La Rey
CBCP issues Oratio Imperata, guidelines for novel coronavirus
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - January 29, 2020 - 7:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Wednesday issued an Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer for protection and guidance amid the spread of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

According to CBCP’s Circular No. 20-05 signed by its Secretary General Marvin Mejia, CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles ordered all parishes to pray the oratio starting February 2, Sunday.

Mejia said that as the world watches the 2019-nCoV with “anxiety and vigilance,” the church and nation can bring supplication through prayer with the Oratio Imperata.

“We exhort all our parishes to pray this 'Oratio' in all our weekdays and Sunday masses after Holy Communion, kneeling down, starting February 2 (Sunday), Feast of the Presentation of the Lord,” Mejia wrote to bishops and diocesan administrators.

“In praying we invite ourselves with all our brothers and sisters suffering with the disease brought by this virus, bring up to God our longing for them to be restored to full health and humbly pray that we may be spared from infection of this virus,” he added.

The CBCP is also urging all parishes, churches and chapels dedicated to St. Raphael the Archangel and St. Roch (Roche or Roque) to make special prayers and penitential processions. It said that St. Raphael and St. Roch are patrons in times of pestilence and experience of an incurable disease.

Meanwhile, the CBCP also called on the faithful to heed the health recommendations of medical experts and officials to prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease.

In view of this, it issued the following recommendations:

  • The Communion in the hand be practiced ordinarily to help prevent further fear from people who are reasonably cautious about this matter;

  • Check and change regularly the Holy Water from Holy Water Fonts;

  • Provide/install protective cloth on the grills of confessionals

  • Discourage our faithful from holding hands during the singing/praying of the “Our Father” and from shaking of hands during the Sign of Peace

The Department of Health on Wednesday said the Philippines remains to be novel coronavirus-free.

The virus, likened to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, late last year. It has claimed 132 lives and currently has around 6,000 confirmed cases.

Reports said it had already spread to more than 15 countries, some of them in Southeast Asia.

Last January 14, the Archdiocese of Cebu also released an Oratio Imperata for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

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