By Leslie Ann Aquino
Priests in the Archdiocese of Manila will hold their annual spiritual retreat online this month amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I foresee that we priests will not be able to make our annual spiritual retreat as scheduled in July. And when we miss that schedule, it will be difficult to set another time for it this year. As new situations call for new responses, this time I invite all of you to make our spiritual retreat together online. It will be from May 25 morning to May 28 evening. It will be done in your homes,” Apostolic Administrator of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in his pastoral instruction to priests.
He said the retreat will be a good preparation for “our re-entry into the new, and hopefully better, normal that awaits us after this quarantine.”
“COVID 19 will still be around and we do not yet know when this pandemic will end, but this will not stop us from serving our people,” said Pabillo. Being online, he said, the retreat will be open to all priests in the archdiocese including guest priests, religious men and women, and lay collaborators.
“In a way this can help unite all who are involved in the archdiocese, being one in prayer and listening to the same,” said Pabillo. “Let each priest invite those he closely works with to join in this retreat,” he added.
Pabillo said the structure of the retreat will be simple with two reflection talks per day, one in the morning at 10 a.m. and one in the afternoon at 3 p.m. During the day, he said, each one will set aside at least one hour of solid prayer as he urged priests and the religious to do this in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
He also urged those joining the spiritual retreat to read the Bible, pray the rosary, and go to confession. Pabillo said lay leaders and the religious can ask priests to hear their confession in the parish or in their religious house.
Metro Manila is still under modified enhanced community quarantine.