All churches nationwide simultaneously rang their bells at 3 p.m. on Holy Wednesday, signaling the start of an interfaith prayer service against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Ginagawa natin yan kapag may ganito tayong mga delubyo, kalamidad o krisis na dumarating. We toll the bells kasi parang cry, parang iyak na ipinaparating natin sa Diyos, tignan mo ang aming kalagayan, huwag niyo kaming pababayaan,” Fr. Jerome Secillano of Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said, according to a Facebook post by GMA News' Ivan Mayrina.
The televised interfaith prayer service was organized by the Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
Bishop Oscar Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines led the Chaplain Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in representing the Catholic faithful during the interfaith prayer service.
Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP president, said the pealing of church bells is a show of solidarity in prayer among the different faiths in the country.
It also in response to the national government’s request for a “Buklurang Panalangin ng Pagkakaisa para Sugpuin ang COVID-19."
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Secillano also urged the public to continue praying amid the unprecedented situation.
“Paigtingin natin ang pananalig lalo na ngayon,” he said.
He called on the public to help those who are in need, most especially the poorest of the poor.
Despite the COVID-19 threat, Secillano said the Catholic Church will continue to air the celebration of the Holy Eucharist via various television channels nationwide.
“Lahat ng gawain ngayong Semana Santa ay ‘di naman po sila made-deprive,” he said.
As of Wednesday, 3,870 COVID-19 infections have been reported in the Philippines with 182 deaths and 96 recoveries.—Ma. Angelica Garcia/KG/LDF, GMA News