As the country faces the government lockdown across the islands, people are getting worried on the health and economic impacts. With economic worries impacting the poor families and working people due to limited movement and work stoppage.
Inspired by a common solidarity, our communities are trying to provide practical assistance on affected families within their reach.
Our formation house in Antipolo, the St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate and Pre-Novitiate House, provided food packs to the neighboring poor communities in the area, consisting of rice and canned goods.
San Sebastian Parish – Recoletos in Quiapo, Manila as well distributed rice ration and gift checks to poor families and parishioners. The initiative was led by Fr. Edgar Tubio, OAR, the parish priest of the Basilica.
The Parish Community of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, in Tondo, Manila, through the leadership of Fr. Jorge Peligro, OAR is participating and organizing the Caritas Volunteers of the Parish, providing assistance to the affected members of the parish.
The community of Valencia in Negros island, offered food assistance to the employees as well as providing food packs to poor individuals in the parish. Fr. Dexter Tanquis, OAR led the distribution. The adjacent community of Caidiocan, also mobilized assistance, Fr. Jay Parilla, OAR participated in the implementation of the lockdown by manning check-point areas in the town of Valencia, helping the police fontliners.
The UNO-R community of Bacolod provided rice assistance to religious communities of nuns in the Bacolod area; as well as coordinating with the Diocese of Bacolod with regard to solidarity assistance to families affected by the lockdown. The university’s Heartmedia Production also assisted the online video programming of the Holy Week Masses of the Cathedral.
The Parish community of Talisay, the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, mobilized a campaign called “Bulig Kita” supporting the parishioners who are also in need of assistance. Fr. Niño Cesar Ruiz, OAR, parish priest, is leading the campaign.
The ARCORES Philippines campaign, aware of safety concerns, encouraged the communities to participate in the NASSA/Caritas Philippines campaign of establishing “Kindness Stations” in the areas of ministries; providing food assistance to the poor and those who are directly impacted by the lockdown, especially those lay cooperators in our communities; like the maintenance personnel, janitorial service workers, and students. In Metro Manila, Caritas Philippines is providing gift checks to poor families with our parishes in the area as conduit of the said assistance.
The USJ-R community in Cebu, made a quick response of the COVID-19 crisis by providing Bus Transport for the health workers in the city of Cebu. During the lockdown, the University community provided food and cash assistance to students stranded in their dormitories in the city. The activity was coordinated by the Office of the Student Affairs, organized by Atty. Jesus Velez. And also, Fr. Rouel Sia, OAR, the INFECOP Director, said that the outreach office will be providing food package to service workers of the University thru the “Kindness Station” initiative.
Last, 4 April 2020, Fray Vincent Cadeliña, OAR, one of the ARCORES coordinators initiated a food giving assistance to the health workers in the hospitals in Cavite City and military personnel implementing the synchronized lockdown.
Online Spiritual Support System with unified mission to reach our affected faithful, done too by other faith communities, churches and people’s initiatives, from the example made by Pope Francis in providing spiritual inspiration to the victims of COVID-19; our OAR communities in the Province, mostly in the Philippines, are conducting on-line and “facebook live” spiritual activities, like Masses, rosaries and other devotions (Lenten and Holy Week spiritual exercises). The Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno’s Recoletos Communications is hosting a daily “live” prayer devotion for healing through the intercession of of Nuestra Señora de la Salud and Benediction; as well as daily Masses.
The San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, through the aid of CARITAS-Manila, distributed to the urban poor families within its territorial jurisdiction gift certificates worth one thousand pesos per family.
The Parish Community of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, in Tondo, Manila too, is also conducting on-line Lenten and Holy Week devotions, like the “Siete Palabras” and also Fr. René Paglinawan, OAR, the parochial vicar, will also be conducting an on-line Holy Week recollection.
Beyond the Philippines The OAR Mission in Sierra Leone, Africa, prior to the country’s lockdown, our religious missionaries already implemented the “washing of hands” among the students of our network of schools in the mission to avoid infection from the corona virus. As advised by the bishop, ministries were suspended to avoid possible infection of the COVID-19.
The OAR Community of Saipan is also coordinating with government and diocesan instructions related to the dreaded disease.
Additionally, the miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de la Salud will be brought out for procession on April 8, 2020, Holy Wednesday, at 5pm onwards. The route will be from Congressional Avenue, then to EDSA, then to Quezon Avenue, the to the Welcome Rotunda, then to Quezon City Memorial Circle, then to Commonwealth Avenue, then to Luzon Avenue, then to Congressional Extension Avenue, then back to her shrine in San Nicolas Parish.
The friars of Recoletos Formation Center produced hand-crafted face shields and then distributed to the “front liners”.