DOP CIRCULAR NO 2020-51
20 July 2020
TO: ALL PARISH PRIESTS, PARISH ADMINISTRATORS, RECTORS, CHAPLAINS, GUEST PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS MEN AND WOMEN, and LAY FAITHFUL IN THE DIOCESE OF PARAÑAQUE
RE: AN APPEAL TO ALL SENIOR CITIZENS
My dear brother priests and lay faithful,
Greetings in Christ!
My dear senior citizens in the Diocese of Parañaque.
It has been a great struggle throughout the past months, especially for you whose anchor in life has always been your great faith and nurturing tastes of the Bread from Heaven, who is Christ our Lord. We have all longed to come back to our churches and worship together once again, but it falls hardest upon you since this is your very source of strength and consolation.
And now with the recently announced permission granted to our parishes to open our doors and allow for 10% seating capacity, there comes a sense of renewed vitality. Finally, some of us can come back!
But then, you find out from your pastors that you, our senior faithful could still not enter the church! Many of you cry, “it’s not fair,” or “why is the church not allowing us to return?” It is painful, yes, to be so close and yet so far away, to have something so dear to you, yet is still out of reach, and not through your own fault at that. Why, you may ask? With this, I beg your indulgence and your listening ears.
First, the facts. It is not the church’s mandate to keep your presence from our places of worship. It has and always will be the church’s disposition that all are welcome in the House of God.
It is the government, which has dictated that those above the age of 60, those below 21 years of age, and those who are immuno-compromised are discouraged, not from gathering in certain places, but in fact from going out of your homes altogether. And the reason is not to discriminate anyone, but to protect and shield you from danger. The world may have started to move on slowly, but the threat of the disease we all fear has not disappeared.
Now with this in mind, I am appealing to your better judgement and the grace of wisdom and understanding. You are important to the Church; you are loved with all our hearts, not just by your families, but by your leaders and pastors as well. That is why we are doing this to protect you and keep you from harm. Above all else, God loves you, Jesus loves you, Mary loves you, and your welfare comes above all else.
Therefore, do not be discouraged if you still cannot come together to pray with the rest of the Christian community. Strive to believe that it is for your own good and that it is God’s will that you should be kept away from the threat of this disease. At this time, please rest assured with the words of Jesus in the Gospel: “when you pray, go to your room, lock your doors, and pray to your Father in secret.” For now, this is what is pleasing in his sight.
You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In the safety of your homes, let your light shine through to all those around you. Let your patience and understanding be the gifts of God’s grace to you. And may you be showered with his blessings from on high.
Finally, please do not take offense when our lay ministers, especially our ushers gently remind you that you are supposed to stay home. They love you as well and would not want any harm to befall upon you. I know that with your age, you have grown in wisdom and graciousness towards your neighbors. Thank you and please do always take care.
Let us continue to pray for one another.
(Sgd.) MOST REV.JESSE E. MERCADO, D.D.
Bishop of Parañaque
(Sgd.) REV. FR. CARMELO O. ESTORES