Manila church creates Covid memorial wall for victims

Move follows call by Manila prelate for Catholic priests to remember and pray for nearly 20,000 virus victims

May 11, 2021

People write the names of loved ones on a newly created memorial wall outside Quiapo Church in Manila. (Photo courtesy of Father Douglas Badong via Radio Veritas)

By  Joseph Peter Calleja

A church in the Philippine capital of Manila is creating a memorial wall where parishioners can write the names of loved ones and friends who have died from Covid-19.

Quiapo Church, home to the shrine of the revered Black Nazarene image of Jesus, announced on May 10 that its priests will pray for all those whose names are written on the wall.

The move followed a call a day earlier by Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo for priests to remember the nearly 20,000 people who have died from the coronavirus by praying for them and their families during masses.

As of May 10, the Philippines had recorded 1,108,826 coronavirus cases with 18,562 deaths.

“As pastors, we priests always carry with us the grief and pains of our people, and the joys and their hopes. Let us bring them to God,” Bishop Pabillo said when making the call during a homily on May 9.

In the Christian faith, death is not the end but only the beginning to eternal life, he said.

“We pray for the eternal repose of our beloved dead … believing that the Lord will bring them to another and better life and better world,” he added.

Priests at Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said a memorial wall was a fitting response to the archbishop’s call.

“People can write the names of those who died during the pandemic and we will pray for them in our Masses here in the church,” its parochial vicar Father Douglas Badong told Radio Veritas.

Father Badong also said the parish had launched a three-day prayer marathon for the end of the pandemic.

Each day has a specific intention — praying for health workers, patients and for good governance, he said.

Parishioners may also post pictures and other items on the wall in memory of their loved ones.

“I posted a family picture on the wall. It is good to be reminded of the times when we were still complete. Before the pandemic, we never imagined we would be separated this soon. Now my father is gone,” said Norlyn Esteban, a local Catholic

Other churches and parishes in the city were set to follow Quiapo Church’s lead while others were opting for a virtual tribute instead.

A parish in Quezon City has posted a link where people could enter the names of loved ones so that priests can pray for them.

“Here in the Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish, we do not have a memorial wall but we have an online register instead. We also read the names of the dead before every Mass,” said resident Roger Jesalva.––

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