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Litany of Gratitude
Released last Feb. 2, 2023, a special prayer to replace the Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer (First released in January 2020, while in February 2021, the CBCP revised the prayer to include a plea for the effectiveness of the vaccines to end the health crisis) for protection against COVID-19 pandemic was released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and will be prayed in all weekday and Sunday Masses until Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday. The prayer was named, “Litany of Gratitude after the COVID-19 Pandemic”; and as such is recited as follows:
Leader (L): Let us approach the Lord, who makes all things new, for all the blessings and graces we received during the Covid pandemic. Response (R): Thanks be to God.
(L): For reminding us of the fragility of life, shielding us when no one else dared to shelter us and opening our minds to what is really essential, let us thank the Lord. (R) Thanks be to God.
(L): For allowing us to connect with one another with faith and love, despite the isolation that sickness had imposed on us, let us thank the Lord. Response (R): Thanks be to God.
(L): For the heroic kindness of those who provided us with scientific, social and spiritual help when doing so was both risky and life threatening for them, let us thank the Lord. Response (R):
Thanks be to God.
(L): For the gift of newly discovered medicines and vaccines to combat the virus and the wonder of natural immunity, let us thank the Lord. Response (R): Thanks be to God.
(L): For the gift of assuring presence, when we were anxious and distressed, depressed and lonely and impatient during the pandemic, let us thank the Lord. Response (R): Thanks be to God.
Let us pray: Loving God, no thought of ours is unknown to you. No tear we shed is unimportant to you. No joy we celebrate is alien to you. You entered our world of sickness, suffering and death and you know the fears we face. Accept our thanksgiving for your provident love during the Covid pandemic. As you wept at the death of Lazarus, breathe the breath of life everlasting on all those who died from the coronavirus. You have turned our fears into joy and for this we thank and praise You. To you be glory now and forever. Mary Help of Christians, pray for us. Saint Michael, the Archangel, pray for us. San Roque, pray for us.
POSTSCRIPT: On March 13, 2020 the CBCP issued a circular saying that, “Depending on the given circumstances, the Local Ordinaries may exercise their prerogative to dispense the faithful from the Sunday and the Holy Days of Obligation” (cf. Circular No. 20-14, n.2). In the same Circular Letter, we also pushed for providing the celebration of the Eucharist through virtual means by internet, radio and television. This decision was the result of the government’s stricter measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 virus.
In Circular No. 22-36 however (Issued by CBCP President and concurrent Bishop of Kalookan, Most Rev. PABLO VIRGILIO S. DAVID, D.D.) the CBCP encouraged the Faithful to Return to Sunday Masses in Churches with a pastoral statement stating:
With gratitude to God, the pandemic has weakened, and our official health experts have placed the country into more relaxed health protocols. This has made our people move freely and return to their normal life and business with ease, but still following some basic health protocols.
These circumstances permit and oblige us to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the Church building as its home of the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, as “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows” (SC, 10).
The faithful are to hold the Eucharist in highest honor, taking active part in the celebration, receiving the sacrament devoutly and frequently, and worshipping it with supreme adoration (Can. 898). Sunday is a day in which the faithful gather “so that by hearing the Word of God, and taking part in the eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, resurrection and glorification of the Lord Jesus, and may thank God” (SC, 106) Can. 1247.
We therefore recommend to all the local ordinaries that: We strongly encourage our faithful to return to the Sunday Eucharist with a purified heart, renewed amazement, and increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him and bring him to our brothers and sisters with the witness of a life full of faith, love and hope.
“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). “This physical contact with the Lord is vital, indispensable, irreplaceable” (CDWDS, “Let us return to the Eucharist with joy!”, Letter to all the bishops, 3 September 2020). May God through the loving intercession of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, continue to deliver us!
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