Updated: Aug 29, 2020
“Nasaan ang simbahan ngayong panahon ng COVID-19?”
This has been one of most asked question by hundreds, or even thousands, of Filipinos. COVID-19 came to the country as early as January, but was not widespread until March, when it was considered a global pandemic. This led to the closure of schools, some offices, and public spaces, including religious places. For the first time ever, the church was closed to the general public, but that didn’t stop the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd from uplifting the lives of its poor brothers and sisters.
In response to the crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Good Shepherd Cathedral established Tugon ng Pastol as its official humanitarian assistance program. The program is composed of the following teams: Spiritual, Medical, Communications, Finance, and Social Response. All relief efforts are being done in partnership with its respective barangay, Barangay Fairview, with the help of its officials.
Most people, regardless of the sector they belong to, lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the closure of many establishments. One of the most affected people are our beloved farmers who provide us with food we prepare our meals with. With this, the Cathedral established the Shepherd’s Market, a neighborhood market located in the Cathedral that provides fresh fruits, vegetables, and poultry. The market aims to cater to the parishioners’ need and to help the country’s farmers in this challenging time.
The Good Shepherd Cathedral also teamed with the Quezon City Local Government to further help those affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine by serving as a distribution center for KALINGA Q.C., the local government’s cash assistance program. The church became the center for distribution of financial aid to taxi, tricycle and GRAB drivers and operators. Also, the team assisted to register those senior citizens, PWDs, vendors, and single parents who have difficulty in entering their data.
The Tugon ng Pastol Team has also partnered and collaborated with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through their Compassion Project, Religions for Peace Philippines by distributing relief packs to Q.C. Garbage Collectors, Golden Reception and Action Center for the Elderly and Other Special Cases (GRACES Home for the Elderly), Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 5, Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinian Sisters), Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, and Andrew’s Fund PH through the distribution of hot meals in various areas of Fairview. The team also distributed relief packs and vitamins to those families affected by COVID-19.
Tugon ng Pastol has distributed 9,221 gift certificates from Caritas Novaliches to different areas in Fairview. It has also distributed 3,470 relief goods to those areas greatly affected and 260 manna packs to malnourished children during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. In addition, the team has also distributed relief packs and vitamins to those COVID-positive patients and families affected by COVID-19.
Through the generosity of parishioners, private benefactors, and other organizations, the Tugon ng Pastol team is grateful for they have distributed 3,470 relief packs, assisted 11,484 families, and has delivered about 2,335 hot meals to children and families in various areas of Fairview.
This pandemic has greatly affected our poor brothers and sisters. It affects almost all aspects of our daily lives. Fear has gripped everyone. And as a Church, we are morally obliged to respond this time more innovatively without having to risk our volunteers getting infected and exposing the people we seek to help. It is really a challenging task for all of us to strike the balance in our response, to be safe against COVID-19 and at the same time to help the poor in the communities. As long as we continue to help and support each other, no enemy, even this virus, will ever win against us. We heal as one. We are one.
Nasaan ang simbahan sa panahon ng pandemya? Narito, tumutulong sa inyo.