Church offers prayers, pledges aid for quake victims
MANILA, Philippines—The Catholic Church on Tuesday urged the faithful to begin reciting a special prayer seeking protection from earthquakes as it mobilized dioceses throughout the country to help the victims of Monday’s tremor in the Visayas.
The Church pledged to help “in kind or in cash.”
Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra said all the parishes in his diocese had been instructed to recite the “Oratio Imperata” and implore the heavens to stop the wave of aftershocks that has hit a large part of the Visayas.
“I ask everybody to implore the intercession of the Divine Mercy to stop further disaster … and we also recommend the prayer to other dioceses for the protection of the Lord,” Navarra said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
Navarra said copies of the special prayer, “Oratio Imperata,” were being distributed to churchgoers.
The Oratio Imperata is “an ordered prayer for a special intention aside from the ones prescribed by ritual that the Pope or the bishop of a diocese may require to be said at Mass,” according to a Catholic encyclopedia.
There are various kinds of Oratio Imperata which may be said for illness, civil disturbance and deliverance from drought and other calamities, like typhoons and floods.
On the day the quake struck, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, exhorted the faithful to join him in prayer for those who died and “to be spiritually close to those who were affected.”
“Let’s continue to pray that God will continue to protect us,” Palma said.
The CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) said social action centers in the affected dioceses had been mobilized to collate reports from the field for relief distribution.
“We will issue a local appeal for help, in kind or in cash, in all our dioceses,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, Nassa executive secretary.
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