Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila leads a candle-lighting ceremony in this file photo. (Photo: Vincent Go)
Doctors, nurses and all medical staff are modern-day heroes for battling the coronavirus despite their exhaustion due to overwhelming numbers of Covid patients, Catholic bishops in the Philippines said on Aug. 31.
Aug. 31 was Philippine National Heroes Day, an annual holiday. It is observed every last Monday of August to commemorate the Cry of Pugadlawin, the event that signaled the beginning of the 1896 Philippine revolution against Spain.
Manila’s apostolic administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, and retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said this year’s Heroes Day should be dedicated to all medical frontliners risking their lives to save others.
“The Archdiocese of Manila pays tribute to all workers on the front lines battling against the coronavirus pandemic. Today, as the entire nation celebrates National Heroes Day, we honor them as our modern-day heroes,” said Bishop Pabillo in his homily in a Mass on Aug. 31.
Bishop Pabillo also said that he could not help but express his sincerest admiration and gratitude to healthcare workers who have been “up to their feet” since the pandemic began early this year.
“I admire their devotion to their countrymen. Despite their lack of rest and sleep and the overwhelming number of Covid patients in hospitals, they have been faithful to their oath and duty to take care of the sick,” said Bishop Pabillo.
While the prelate hailed medical frontliners as heroes, he lamented that some Filipinos were “sinking the country” in debt, corruption and lack of a concrete plan to address Covid-19.
“The heroism of our frontliners keeps our nation afloat. Let us pray for our modern heroes because of the many trials and challenges they are going through,” Bishop Pabillo added.
Bishop Bastes said medical frontliners were “truly heroes” who risk their lives so that others may live.
“These frontliners are always in danger of contracting the deadly disease whenever they treat people with Covid-19,” he told UCA News.
Bishop Bastes said health workers are “true to their vocation” for exposing not only themselves but also their loved ones because of their jobs.
“Frontliners do not show fear. They do not hesitate to serve them [Covid patients] despite the clear and present danger,” he said.
Bishop Bastes said medical workers would forever be remembered in the minds and hearts of Filipinos.
“These heroes will live forever both in the memory of our nation and in God’s Kingdom. ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground, it will remain just a grain of wheat; but if it is buried in the ground, it rises and bears fruits,' as Jesus said of his own Passion,” Bishop Bastes added.