by Maria de Maharlika

Bombarded throughout the day with shocking and sad news about the suspension of Holy Mass until further notice, NSOLL’s Parish Pastoral Council hurriedly convened at 6:30 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020 at the Parish Center. Leaders of 27 organizations and ministries sought answers to what was an unimaginable, unthinkable situation beyond belief. A first in almost 500 years of Philippine Roman Catholic history. We are now at #499YOC.

Opening prayer was led by Br. Victor Jose Luciano, NSOLL’s Lay Coordinator. Br. Joseph Villaflor, the Worship Coordinator, explained the announcements released today, starting with the hottest issue: The Diocese of Cubao announced that public masses are canceled until further notice. He explained that priests in the diocese will continue to say Holy Mass in private for us and our intentions. And depending on the facility of the parish, this mass can be available online through video streaming.  Aside from the private masses of priests being streamed online, we can also tune in to Radio Veritas 846, TV Maria, and other stations that regularly broadcast Sunday Masses.

Further he explained that Bishop Nes granted dispensation to all the faithful from the obligation of going to Sunday Mass.

The Adoration Chapel will be closed. But churches will remain open  to all those who want to come and pray before Jesus in the tabernacle. While inside the Church, the sacred images of saints will be cordoned off, to prevent churchgoers from touching and kissing them.

Rev. Fr. Cesar F. Acuin, OFMCap, NSOLL’s Parish Priest, slowly read the pastoral letter on Community Quarantine and Cancellation of Masses from by His Excellency Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D., Bishop of Cubao. In addition, he had more to announce:

The Church will open starting Sunday, March 15th  from 7am – 7pm.

Educate our loved ones and our organization members about COVID19: that transmission is through respiratory mucus droplets through cough, saliva, which may also be on infected surfaces that are easy to touch. Unknowingly, they might touch their faces and get infected.

“Remember that these are all acts of charity.” Apply proper hygiene. Wash hands, use hand sanitizers, exercise proper respiratory etiquette. Social distancing. The Church will provide alcohol pumps by the doors. No physical contact with people in Church: shaking hands, besobeso, mano, holding hands.

Our shrine is not to accept baptisms and weddings. If the wedding or the baptism is already scheduled, the first option is to ask if they can reschedule. If not, for the wedding, only the couple, the witnesses and the parents will be present. For solo baptism, only the parents and 2 godparents will be present. The priest will use cotton balls to anoint the baby with oil. The cotton ball then should be properly disposed of, i.e. burned.

Anointing of the sick will be allowed if the person is in danger of death, as well as those requesting.

Answers to some questions:

  1. For now, no mass, no gatherings, no organization meetings. Better to group chat online.
  2. We will put on hold temporarily the giving of rice for our indigents.
  3. Worst case scenario: If this drags on until Holy Week, we will be closed. Go on the live stream with the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Cubao. Search on FB: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao.
  4. We shall continue to accept funeral reservations in our shrine.
  5. Updates will be regular through the chat groups.
  6. Continue to pray at home. Fr. Cesar promised to send prayers for spiritual communion that we can use when we hear mass online.
  7. Personal intentions may be submitted to the parish office, for the private masses.
  8. The schedule of private masses in NSOLL will be announced soon.
  9. “If you are unable to go to mass, there are three things you can do: tune in to a TV mass or an online live stream mass. Pray the Rosary. Read Scriptures.”
  10.  A request for assistance to fumigate the Church once a month, through the barangay officials.
  11.  Assistance in soliciting advertisements for the souvenir program for the Canonical Coronation will be most appreciated.

Our full cooperation is requested.

The meeting ended with a positive and determined-to-lick COVID19 atmosphere, and the hope that this unprecedented situation ends as soon as possible.

Rev. Fr. Cesar F. Acuin, OFMCap, closes the last Parish Pastoral Council meeting of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish until COVID19 is solved.

The PPC meeting closed with a prayer from Fr. Cesar.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!



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