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Saturday, 13 September 2014

CBCP declares Sept 14 nat’l day of prayer

From the Website of CBCP

25 new chapels to rise in Yolanda-hit areas


CBCP declares Sept 14 nat’l day of prayer

DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan, September 8, 2014—In response to the mounting persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declares September 14, 2014—the “Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross”—as National Day of Prayer for Peace, calling on all Church leaders to celebrate mass for the special intentions of these modern-day martyrs and to raise funds for them.

“We request the Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops to oblige all priests to celebrate all Masses that day for the special intentions of the persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq,” says CBCP chief and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas in a letter addressed to his brother-bishops.

Dujok, Iraq - August 24, 2014: Yazidi families who fled the advance of Islamic State forces in Sinjar find shelter under a bridge in the Kurdish city of Duhok. (Photo: Hawre Khalid / Metrography for Catholic Relief Services)
Special intentions for peace

At the Permanent Council meeting held September 2, the bishops unanimously chose September 14, Sunday as “National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria”, coinciding with the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

“In all our Masses on the feast of the Holy Cross, let us unite ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters, commending to the God who is our hope their pains, their shattered lives and dreams, their bereavement and their loss,” says Villegas.

He explains, “Helpless and defenseless persons are victims of a brutal imposition of a rigid and unforgiving version of faith. Religion is as much a victim, for those who kill and slaughter, wound and maim, destroy, and burn in the name of God, send the world the awful message that religion divides, that faith is oppressive, that belief can engender so much unkindness!”

The prelate urges the faithful to pray that even as many of the persecuted Christians now “see no way out of the misery that has been visited on them, the God who opens paths through the sea and ways in the desert, may make a way for them to the future that can only be His gift!”

According to Villegas, the “Gospel of peace, love and brotherhood is under siege in many parts of the world, especially in Iraq and Syria”.

Villegas notes that the same Gospel of brotherhood and peace invites Filipinos to respond first and foremost through “prayer accompanied by charity and solidarity”.

Calling on Pinoys’ generosity 

The archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan also requests for a charity collection for the Iraqi and Syrian Christians, stressing that it is “Christ in Iraq and Syria” who has been evicted from his home.

He adds, “Places of worship—many of them, thousands of years old—have been razed to the ground by a godless rage with which no genuine religion can ever identify!”
“For many, the food and drink that sustain life are daily issues. They rise from sleep each day to struggle just to keep themselves alive. We must be generous, and the fact that we have our own needs here in the Philippines does not excuse us from the Christian obligation of sharing with our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria from our own need.”

The collections, which will be remitted to CBCP Secretariat by September 30, 2014, will then be immediately sent to the charity aid of the Apostolic Nunciatures in Iraq and Syria.
Quoting Matthew 25:40, Villegas shares, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

CBCP Website

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