By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY – “Prayer is at its best in these trying times.”
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma had this message as he asked the faithful to seek divine intervention amid the uncertainties brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“In the midst of fear and anxiety caused by the coronavirus that even the great nations, they are at a loss at what to do. At this time, we do not know what to do yet, we have no solution and for us to bend our knees in prayer is an important act of the leaders and all of us,” Palma said in mixed English and Visayan in his homily during yesterday’s Palm Sunday Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
The celebration of the Palm Sunday Mass, which marked the start of the observance of the Holy Week, was only attended by a few people that included Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia.
The governor had asked the Cebuanos to watch the Mass through social media live streaming as the province was venerated and consecrated before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Garcia said Our Lady of Guadalupe was instituted as the patroness of the province of Cebu by the late Cardinal Riarcdo Vidal.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patronage of Cebu. We ask her intercession that through her prayers, we will be saved,” said Palma.
It is in this health crisis that the government should lead effectively, Palma said.
“We thank the leaders, who like Jesus, who know leadership is meant for the good of the community. We thank the leaders who prioritize the good of the people, they don’t call attention to themselves but they plead and beg, command and lead for the good of the people,” said Palma.
The prelate asked the public to do its part by following the measures meant to prevent the spread of the disease.
“I hope we will not be hard-headed. Let us not disobey the community quarantine and the social distancing,” Palma said.
Amidst the pandemic, the people must learn to value life.
“Value our life which is given by the Lord. In this time of COVID, we should be serious in giving value to our life. That’s why both civil authority and all people of goodwill are reminded to do our utmost best and that we preserve this life given by the Lord,” said Palma.
The prelate likewise urged the faithful to appreciate the sacrifices of the frontliners as he paid tribute to medical workers who died due to COVID-19.
“We know how many people who will risk their lives so that we may be safe. We describe our frontliners as heroes because it is not easy to expose themselves to risk. We admire people who are willing to take the risk,” he said.
Palma particularly mentioned couple Dr. Dennis and Dr. Helen Tudtud, who died due to COVID 19.
“Doctors know the risk and yet they are there at the frontlines. These are the people who like Jesus, know the meaning of risk and perhaps the meaning of dying. They know what it means to offer your life so that others may live,” said Palma.
Palma pointed out it is important for the public to cooperate with the government in the fight against the pandemic so as not to put the sacrifices of the frontlines in vain.
“In this time of COVID, let’s appreciate the sacrifices of some people that we may have safety. But the most important thing is to realize that their sacrifices should not be in vain,” Palma said.