Magdasal po tayo ng sama-sama: Lenten reflections and prayers as we all carry the cross of the coronavirus

AJPress illustration by Kendrick Tan

SEMANA SANTA. For the first time in my lifetime, my family will not be able to go to church for the mass of the palaspas, stations of the cross, washing of the feet, seven last words, retreats and recollections, salubong, confession, Visita Iglesia, Easter Sunday mass — traditions that we all share as Filipinos and as Catholics during Holy Week.

This is because of the “social distancing,” “shelter in place”, “stay at home” orders implemented in almost all states in America to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 that is transmitted faster when people gather together in especially in an enclosed space, just like how it is in churches in observance of Lent.

The churches may be closed for now, but thank God we have online services to attend mass, and participate virtually in most of these traditions.

But wherever we may be, Lent is a good time to reflect on our faith and the meaning of the promise of Easter as we all feel like we are on the Good Friday — the Biyernes Santo of our lives.

Many of us may be wondering or asking God why He would allow the pandemic to happen, kill so many lives and disrupt our own life as we know it. We have no answers, except that we believe as Christians that everything — including crises such as the coronavirus or a recession — work together for our good.

This Lenten Season, allow me to share poignant messages from Pope Francis and other prayer warriors as we all navigate our life during these challenging and heartbreaking times, and also a prayer from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines that I wish we can all say together and offer up to the Lord in faith.

“It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.” —Pope Francis

“This virus is teaching us that from now on, living wages, guaranteed health care for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right vs wrong and life vs death.” — Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Oratio Imperata against the spread of coronavirus

God our Father
We come to you in our need
To ask your protection against the 2019 N-Corona Virus,
That has claimed lives
And has affected many.
We pray for your grace
For the people tasked with studying the nature and cause
Of this virus and its disease
And of stemming the tide of its transmission.
Guide the hands and minds of medical experts
That they may minister to the sick
With competence and compassion,
And of those governments and private agencies
That must find cure and solution to this epidemic.
We pray for those afflicted
May they be restored to health soon.
Grant us the grace to work for the good of all
And to help those in need.
Grant this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son.
Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever. Amen.
Mary Help of all Christians, pray for us.
St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
St. Rock, pray for us.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
Sr. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at, or send her a message via Facebook at

Gel Santos Relos
Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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