Prayer power | Inquirer News

Prayer power

By: - Senior Reporter / @inquirervisayas
/ 09:14 AM November 08, 2013

With the world’s strongest typhoon of the year still heading for Cebu and the Visayas, Roman Catholics turn to prayer power.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday asked bishops and priests all over the country to lead people in prayer “for deliverance against natural calamities.”

The oratio imperata or mandatory prayer Palma relayed through Radio Veritas says “Global warming is upon us” as seen in more intense and frequent typhoons and floods. The prayer seeks forgiveness for man’s abuse of the environment, which is called a “sin” against God and “His creation”. (See full text on page 31.)


On their own, anxious believers have been passing on various prayer texts on Facebook and mobile text messages urging people to implore God to divert the typhoon’s path and spare people from harm.


“All we can do right now is pray. We’ve just experienced a strong earthquake. I hope we’ll no longer have another calamity, “ Palma told reporters in his residence in Cebu City.

Disaster councils across the country had at least three days to prepare for super storm “Yolanda” which entered the country yesterday.

People have to take practical steps to prepare, such as evacuating from danger zones, said Palma, adding that churches as well as parish-owned schools and gymnasiums will be opened for evacuees.

An oratio imperata is “an ordered prayer for a special intention besides the ones prescribed by ritual that the Pope or the bishop of a diocese may require to be said at Mass.”

The text issued yesterday was recited at every Mass in November 2009 when then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal issued it following a series of devastating typhoons that year – Ondoy, Pepeng, and Ramil.

The same oratio was recited by the Archdiocese of Legazpi in November 2007 when Bicol was threatened by typhoon Mina. When the storm changed course, Bicolanos credited this as a “miracle” arising from their daily prayers at Mass.


The last time Palma issued an oratio imperata was in 2011 to seek divine intervention after unprecedented floods followed a downpour in Metro Cebu on Jan. 25 that year.

Palma is the outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

He said there are many ways to pray, including exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, where Catholics kneel in quiet adoration of Jesus Christ, who is believed to be present in consecrated hosts displayed in church.

On the spot, Palma yesterday uttered this prayer: “O God, our Father, in these times, in the midst of a supertyphoon, help us. May Mama Mary and San Pedro Calungsod, along with all the saints, intercede for us. Amen.”

In past years, his predecessor Vidal issued an oratio imperata for various purposes: the peaceful conduct of elections; safety against diseases such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bird flu virus, dengue, the influenza A (H1N1) virus.

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Vidal also issued prayer texts for healing from political conflicts, tribal wars and unjust socioeconomic divisions; for a culture of unity; “peace in the Middle East”; the “deteriorating peace situation,” to avert threats to security and pray for the success of a meeting of world leaders in Cebu for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in January 2007.

TAGS: Typhoon

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