When Metro Manila transitions to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in June 2020, expected changes include the resumption of religious services particularly Masses by the Catholic Church.
While Metro Cebu has edged Metro Manila in total number of infected, easing of quarantine protocols remain highly debatable.
Should we risk a second and third wave in favor of reviving the economy? Business owners who are gravely affected by the shutdown of operations have a valid argument for relaxing lockdown protocols.
So, partial reopening of businesses should also be followed by allowing the celebration of church Masses. Catholics have not gone this long without the Eucharis probably since World War II. The hunger for spiritual nourishment has become painful.
Online Masses are at best palliative, lacking substance – the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The clergy have become creative at offering spiritual guidance to parishioners. The laity look for their priests, only to be found on small screens.
Government must understand religion can rally the people to overcome the crisis. Priests are more credible than politicians at inspiring hope.
Politicians come and go, but the Catholic Church has for two centuries remained a beacon of hope in times of crisis.
Meanwhile, our Trump-doppelganger for a president wisely decided to disallow schools to reopen in August until a vaccine is available to protect the lives of children.
He may have valued the economy more than the health of Filipinos, at least he showed children are more important than return to the new normal, which for some will mean homeschooling the children.
In our previous lives or during BC (before COVID), homeschooling was reserved for the rich, young movie and TV stars. It meant hiring expensive tutors.
In the new normal, parents will have to teach their children with modules provided by government. Formal classroom education will remain postponed.
Parents will be pressured to keep their jobs while teaching their children at home. Cost of educational materials will be borne by the parents.
The good side is having parents directly infuse positive values and attitude to their children without the dreaded bullies pervading campuses. There won’t be additional expenses of tuition and daily baon and transport.
Until when this new normal will prevail is pegged on the availability of a working vaccine.
The downside are depressed communities where parents are too busy finding their daily food to homeschool their children. That is a fact.
For our president, educating our children will have to take a back seat, at least for a few more months, until we adjust to the new normal. Stories from other countries of schoolchildren getting infected when classes resumed, serve to validate this decision.
To the minds of young children, this is one very long but fun-less summer vacation.