Yes, the usual reply of people, the “new normal response” to those who travel to the capital city of the Philippines, due to the continuous spread of COVID 19. Here, we have had the longest Lockdown and just recently, Manila has returned to another 15 days Lockdown with a much-tightened quarantine regulation. We now topped with the highest number of new cases among our neighboring countries and this brings WORRIES like:

  • thousands of workers lose their jobs
  • shrinking of our country’s economy
  • travel restrictions
  • early closure of schools and,
  • yes, dormitories are not excluded from this crisis.

The opening of classes for the school year 2020- 2021, was crucial and conducted by a series of consultations which ended up with this decision, that, public and private schools are to implement ONLINE studies which started on August 24, 2020. Amidst unpreparedness of most schools and while other areas are still under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), the recently enacted Republic Act 11480 was enacted and allows the President with the recommendation of the Secretary o Education, to move opening of schools to OCTOBER 5, 2020 via nationwide ONLINE system. This simply means that it will affect all dormitory apostolate, for they are no longer sought by students, and this is tough truth. We may sound untrue if we say that we are not affected. The fact that, from having good number of girls every year and in each semester in our dormitory to nothing is unthinkable of such apostolate. In the past, these dates of the year were busy hotlines of almost every time, or every phone call were for our boarders on the next line confirming of their reservation, to stay with us and notifying dates of arrival.

It is so nice, and we are envious to see our sisters in schools, too busy preparing for the New Trend of Learning, the “BLENDED DISTANCED LEARNING”. Whereas, in dormitories, we need hope for a new way and be patient to wait until a such a time situation changes.

Just like Peter in the Gospel of Mt:14-25-31 that as Peter was walking on water toward Jesus, he was frightened of the strong wind and he began to sink….We may not be sinking, as with our strong and firm faith we hold on to Jesus as He stretched out His hand and listen to Him telling us: “Courage, don’t be afraid, it’s Me”.

How long are we to battle with this unseen enemy? Nobody knows. We are still waiting and hoping for a recommended vaccine, that at this point in time, we know too well, that no vaccine was proven yet, to assure us of protection, if not cure against this virus. So, for us, we believe that this still a long journey for every one of us. To stay away from this virus, we are to focus on the brighter side of life. Live to the full the health protocols mandated by our government, even all the while, things are yet so unclear.

Strong in our faith in God as Lk 18:1-5:8 depicts on the parable of the persistent widow. She was asking for justice to an unrighteous judge, but, because of her persistency, in the end her request was granted. Also, in Lk 18:1: “We should pray continually and not lose heart”. With this, and in Jesus, we can face the ‘NEW NORMAL’ life as it comes for in our hearts we believe that, our loving God is always with us, strengthens us and will listen to us in our needs, in our prayers.

Sisters Josefina Lasola and Concepcion Santiago

(Padre Noval St, Sampaloc, Manila)

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