Archdiocese of Cebu issues ‘Oratio Imperata’ amid El Niño

CEBU CITY — Roman Catholics in Cebu will begin reciting the Oratio Imperata for rain on Sunday, but netizens here were quick to share the text of the obligatory prayer.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma approved the release of the prayer on Wednesday, as the whole province has been declared under a state of calamity due to the negative impact of the El Niño to the residents, especially the farmers.

Palma tasked Rev. Fr. Charles Louis Jayme, head of the archdiocese’s Relief and Rehabilitation Unit, to release the prayer.

The Church on Wednesday evening circulated a copy of the prayer, which Roman Catholic netizens and digital media sites began sharing using their accounts. Some netizens posted the prayer using memes.

Monsignor Ruben Labajo, parish priest of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, confirmed to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that his parish has yet to receive a copy of the prayer.

“We will begin the prayer (of Oratio Imperata) on Sunday. Wa pa mi kadawat sa kopya, but naa na siya (But it’s there already),” Labajo said, noting how amazed he was on how fast the social media circulated the prayer.

The prayer pleads to “shower us with rain, provide us with water that we need,” while begging for survival amid the dry spell that has struck the province.

It begs an end to the El Niño, which is “depriving us of the fruits of our toil; low water supply means hunger and thirst for most of us.”

The prayer also beseeches “courage to take in hand the sufferings of the environment, and implore the people’s might to save and protect the beauty of nature.”

It appeals for “wisdom to restore whatever we have destroyed.”

Oratio Imperata is the Latin term for “obligatory prayer”, a set of prayers consisting of a liturgical action that a bishop offers during Sunday Masses, when a grave need or calamity occurs. (PNA)