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“Let us stand in solidarity and unity in our prayers. We pray for the safety of the bishops and all those wrongfully charged, that they might find strength in these trying times.”
For seven years, Sister Anita has worked with the indigenous peoples of the Philippines, in the Diocese of San Jose. She offers them counsel, ministers to their most urgent needs, and supervises children in the primary school. She helps local women and organizes youth events and activities. “It is a joy and a blessing,” Sister Anita says of her work.
For the local Bishop, Edwin de la Peña, dialogue and the rebuilding of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims are an absolute priority today. In …
“The Christian minority on the island of Jolo are not the only victims; there are also Muslims who tell me: ‘Father, we too are threatened because we are not the same kind of Muslims as they are.'”
“Please pray for the victims of Mount Carmel Cathedral bombing in Jolo. No words can describe the sorrow and pain that we feel. May they be given justice in God’s time. I know that the friends of the victims—both Muslims and Christians—are mourning and in deep sorrow today. Pray also or the families of our young soldiers who died while securing the cathedral. Most of those who died were our regular Sunday 8am Mass-goers.”
“The Church will always stand up for peace and mercy. Revenge is not in keeping with our message. Our first tool for social change is prayer. Only God can soften hardened hearts. Our second tool is to keep preaching Christ. We teach and never get tired to repeat the same message. The third response is dialogue. We dialogue with those who hate us or with all those who do not share our belief. We seek the common ground.”
“Just as in other countries where Christians are only a small minority among Muslims, such as is the case in Pakistan, Christians in Marawi have always tried to establish a good relationship with their Muslim neighbors.
The bishop expressed his determination that his priority, rather than the rebuilding of the cathedral, was to ensure the return of the Christian population that had fled the fighting.
“To the Muslims of Marawi and Lanao del Sur, I declare that I continue to believe that we can still be united as Muslims and Christians. We are not enemies, we believe in one God.”