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Oratio Imperata: What you need to know

Members of the Catholic Church are enjoined to pray the oratio imperata as prayer brigade against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

cebu metropolitan cathedral
Source: Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral's Facebook page

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are all-encompassing and pervasive enough for the church to address by way of issuing an oratio imperata or obligatory prayer to be prayed while kneeling down in all weekday and Sunday masses after the Holy Communion.

The circular with this directive was released by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on January 29 and the oratio imperata began being prayed by the parishes all over the country on February 2.

According to the CBCP,

“Let it be our pastoral duty to remind our faithful to heed the health recommendations of medical experts and officials so that we prevent the acquisition and spread of the disease.”

A revised version of the oratio imperata from the Archdiocese of Cebu has since been released. Archbishop Jose Palma has mandated all churches under the Cebu Archdiocese to ring the bell every 12:00 noon and 8:00 o’clock in the evening to remind the people to pray it.

About Oratio Imperata

Oratio Imperata is a set of prayers that consist of a solemn, general prayer to be prayed by members of the Catholic Church in times of dire calamities like droughts, storms, wars, or epidemic.  The prayers are petitioned by the archdiocese after receiving requests from the local parish and approved by the metropolitan archbishop.  

Oratio Imperata is mandated to be prayed by all church members as a sort of prayer brigade for the faithful against a collective adversity. It is not meant to be a mainstay prayer but rather should only be used until the duration of whatever it is it was created for.

Historically, oratio imperata is deeply embedded in our culture. Philippines has had its share of many natural disasters like typhoons, and the local archdioceses would release one in the face of it or during monsoon season.

Revised Oratio Imperata

To be prayed every 12:00 noon and 8:00 PM:

God our Father, we come to you in our need to ask your protection against the COVID 19 that has disturbed and even claimed lives.

We pray that you guide the people tasked to find cures for this disease and to stem its transmission. Protect the medical experts that they may minister to the sick with competence and compassion.

We pray for those afflicted. May they be restored to health soon. Protect those who care for them. Grant eternal rest to those who have died.

Give us the grace in this trying time to work for the good of all and to help those in need. We implore you to stop the spread of this virus and to save us from our fears.

Grant all these through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son who live and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  one God, forever and ever. Amen.

We fly to your protection, oh Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our petition in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, oh glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Our Lady, health of the sick, pray for us.
St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
St. Rock, pray for us.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

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