Church replaces Oratio Imperata vs COVID-19 with ‘litany of gratitude’

February 2, 2023 - 3:06 PM
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A woman wearing a face mask and a face shield as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lights candles before a Palm Sunday mass at the St. Peter Parish Church in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 28, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

The country’s Catholic bishops on Thursday released a special prayer to replace the Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer for protection against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the “Litany of Gratitude after the COVID-19 Pandemic” is to be prayed in all weekday and Sunday Masses from Feb. 11 until Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday.

Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, CBCP Secretary General, said the prayer was approved on Jan. 30, during the bishops’ plenary assembly.

The new prayer reads as follows:

Litany of Gratitude after the COVID Pandemic

Leader: Let us approach the Lord, Who makes all things new, for all the blessings and graces we received during the COVID pandemic.

After every petition, let us say together: Thanks be to God.

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

Response: Thanks be to God.

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: Thanks be to God.

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: Thanks be to God.

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: Thanks be to God.

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: 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.

It was in January 2020 when the bishops’ collegial body first issued the Oratio Imperata against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2021, the CBCP revised the prayer to include a plea for the effectiveness of the vaccines to end the health crisis.