MANILA – The Archdiocese of Manila on Tuesday said it will strengthen its social media presence and improve the ministry for the sick once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon is lifted.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese, said the current situation has proven that social media has been helping Catholics practice their faith amid the quarantine.

“Some realizations become clear to us. First, the importance of social media. Parishes who have well-developed social media ministry are able to reach their people easily and offer them services. Thus we should develop our social media ministry. Online religious services are here to stay,” he said in a statement.

He encouraged churches to establish good social media ministries.

“Many of our elderly people will hesitate to go to church; the social distancing cannot be easily done in our churches because we do not have that many churches. So the media apostolate is here to stay and will play a greater role in the life of the Church from now on. Thus all Church institutions are encouraged to set up good social media ministries,” Pabillo said.

He also suggested that parishes should have a ministry for the sick.

“The pandemic has shown us the importance of the ministry to the sick. Not many parishes have this. In Manila, we have only five priests of the archdiocese who are in the hospital chaplaincy. Most of our hospital chaplains are either religious or guest priests. We should seriously think as an archdiocese to strengthen our ministry to the sick, even down to the parochial level. This ministry does not only cater to the sick in the hospitals but also to the medical staff, and also to the sick and the elderly in their homes,” he said.

He also suggested that lay ministers bring communion to the homes of the sick and the elderly if they prefer to participate in the online mass online even if the ECQ had been lifted.

“The elderly ones can no longer give communion in the homes because they themselves are susceptible to be infected. Thus we need to recruit more and younger lay ministers. Can we fast track their recruitment and their formation? We can get from the older altar servers, or older choir members, or even ask the religious sisters and brothers to help in this ministry of bringing the Body of Christ to the elderly,” he said.

He also acknowledged the Church’s effort in giving assistance to the less fortunate.

“One thing that caught the admiration of the business community and the government is our silent but rapid mobilization to distribute more than PHP1 billion worth of gift certificates (GCs) to the poor. Each family was given PHP1,00 worth of GCs,” he said.

Last week, Caritas Manila, the social action of the Archdiocese of Manila, reported that it has distributed more than PHP1 billion worth of gift certificates (GCs) to more than 800,000 urban poor families in Metro Manila and Luzon. (PNA)

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