Nothing will be the same after this new coronavirus disease pandemic except for God’s infinite love. If we don’t come out of this quarantine with a renewed spirituality or a higher sense of gratitude or a clearer understanding of life’s purpose, then we have wasted the time that has been given to us.
Like everyone else, I’ve been watching my share of Netflix, but I also found time to watch Pope Francis celebrate an extraordinary ritual at the Vatican. He prayed for an end to the coronavirus war and delivered a beautiful homily in a dramatically empty St. Peter’s Square.
It was such a moving scene as Pope Francis walked alone to the stage. There must have been something above that miraculously kept him from getting soaked in the rain.
“We find ourselves afraid and lost,” Pope Francis said. “We were caught off-guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented… all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
The pope’s “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) blessing, normally delivered on Christmas and Easter, was livestreamed on social media and broadcast on television and radio. The pope granted an exceptional plenary indulgence for Roman Catholics across the world suffering from the virus, and for health care workers—but most of all, for those who may die in isolation, unable to receive their last rites.
This plenary indulgence was also extended to people unable to participate in the prayer due to illness, but who unite themselves in spiritual communion with the prayer. The extraordinary moment lasted about an hour. The “Salus Populi Romani” icon and the crucifix of St. Marcellus were placed in front of the central door of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Trying to keep a schedule, I still attend a Catholic Mass daily on livestream. Personally, the best part of the quarantine is family time with two of our four kids. After dinner, we usually have a couple rounds of mahjong or a game of chess with my son Tyrone. I have started boxing, too, and rediscovered oil painting.
Like many others, I have discovered the videoconferencing app Zoom, connecting with my son Bryan and his family, who are “trapped” in their Bonifacio Global City condo, and with my daughter Annika who is still in California. I am also able to attend my bible study and Zumba with my #Zbabes on the Internet.
It is quite amazing to witness and be part of some of the small and large efforts to help out the #frontlinersPH and those displaced by this lockdown.
For the health and immune protection of our modern-day heroes, my USANA family started a donation drive of around 400 pairs of Usana Cellsentials supplements. Team Intensity lady boss Lieshel Yambao shared this wonderful effort of her team all over the country.
SkinCell Clinics’ Dr. Issa Cellona has arranged for better sleeping quarters for the technicians in the radiology department of Philippine General Hospital. Thanks to our generous Red Charity Gala sponsor Pinky Rosagas of Uratex, the mattresses were sent to the hospital over the weekend! Pinky also told me that they donated more mattresses and pillows and sent them to Sorsogon through their Uratex Premium endorser Heart Evangelista.
The Red Charity Gala has helped many foundations and charities over the past 11 years. Cochair Kaye Tiñga and I were able to purchase more personal protective equipment for our hospital heroes. Additionally, our Assumption HS ’81 Foundation started a small feeding program. Between all the fundraising and charitable work, I am doing my best to maximize this quarantine time!
On a much bigger scale, there is Project Ugnayan, a private sector effort in partnership with Caritas Damayan Project. Their goal is to feed 7.5 million marginalized Filipinos by providing them with P1,000 per family, enough to feed a family of six for a week. It will come in the form of grocery vouchers that are redeemable in supermarkets for food and grocery items.
So far, Caritas and parish priests have distributed over P80 million in grocery vouchers to the poorest barangays. They aim to release more vouchers to another 1.5 million people this weekend. You can join the Project Ugnayan effort by sending your donations to the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation at pdrf.org, and access their donation page for Project Ugnayan/Damayan.
As we look forward to Easter week, it may be time to get into a better state of mindfulness. A better mental state will do wonders for your health.
Kundalini Yoga instructor Rosan Cruz is conducting online “Boost Your Well-Being” sessions on April 7 and 9 in cooperation with the Aegle Wellness Center. The 75-minute sessions will be held at 11 a.m. and can be accessed on Zoom. Register for the free April 7 session at bit.ly/aegle-online-events or by calling tel. 87370077 or 0917-8219795.
The following day, April 8, at the same time, Aegle is teaming up with holistic health coach Christina Maningo for a Zoom session, “Evolving Past Quarantine.” Christina is a therapeutic and functional movement instructor and wants to share simple breathing techniques to lower stress levels and prepare one for the postquarantine world. Registration can be done on the same links above.
Lastly, let me end by noting that if you are missing your print copy of the Inquirer, you can get a digital copy instead. Download the Inquirer Plus app from AppStore and GooglePlay, or sign up at bit.ly/inquirer_plus. Enjoy your first 30 digital copies for free! Read the Inquirer from your mobile device! Keep well and stay informed!