Palma: Pray for end of Marawi strife
As the armed conflict in Marawi City continues, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the people to turn to prayer and help stomp out terror and all forms of violence.
The 67-year-old prelate has recently issued an oratio imperata or a mandatory prayer which will be used in all Masses in the archdiocese.
The special prayer for the “reign of peace and justice in Mindanao” will be said after the post communion prayer.
“Our quest for peace particularly in the war-torn Marawi City has continued to elude us. Lives have been lost. Families have been displaced.
Properties have been destroyed,” said Palma in a July 5 circular sent to all team ministries and parish priests in the country’s largest archdiocese.
“The road to recovery and rehabilitation will be difficult and challenging but by our deep faith in our Almighty God and our full confidence in each other as a people united by our common aspirations for peace and goodwill, all our efforts and initiatives will help us realize our dream for lasting peace and prosperity especially in Mindanao,” he added.
Palma said the oratio imperata shall be prayed in all churches and chapels in Cebu until he revokes it.
An oratio imperata is a traditional catholic invocation where the bishop leads the community in prayer for a special intention.
In previous years, it was used in Cebu to seek divine protection for the peaceful elections, peace in the Middle East, safety from typhoons, and various ailments such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bird flu virus, dengue, the influenza A (H1N1) virus as well as the success of the 2007 Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Summit hosted in Cebu.
Palma found a need to issue another oratio imperata as the clash between members of the Maute terror group and government troopers continues.
As of July 6, at least 351 Maute terrorists, 85 security forces, and 39 civilians were killed in the ongoing clash based on reports from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ spokesperson.
In his oratio imperata, Palma called on God to intervene and to end the strife in Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao.
“O God, who show a Father’s care for all the members of the human race to whom you have given a simple origin, we humbly but confidently turn to you in this hour of need and distress. Be attentive to our petitions and grant to our troubled times, tranquility and peace.”
Palma said the church condemns terrorism as it is totally against the principles of any religion.
“O God, merciful and mighty, who crush wars and cast down the proud, be pleased to banish violence swiftly from our midst and to wipe all tears away. We pray for all murdered innocent victims in Marawi and we ask you to protect all the families that have fled to safety.”
“Draw us together so that we may all work for harmonious relationships among peoples of different faiths. Rescue us from the worth of suspicion and prejudice, of hatred and hostility which violence creates. Bring about communion of minds and hearts and an increase in fraternal charity.”
As the martial law in Mindanao is in effect, Palma urged the faithful to seek God’s help to make sure freedom and justice will prevail.
“Teach us to be calm in the face of martial law, to be obedient to the just commands of lawful authority, and not to provoke violent reaction. Keep us vigilant and responsive if it goes the way of evil,” the prayer read.
The prelate also asked the people to pray for President Rodrigo Duterte, government leaders, and those in military that they have the wisdom to lead the country and ensure the safety of all its inhabitants.
“Grant them wisdom and integrity of heart as they strive to respond to the problems of peace and order, of the continuing disruptive activities of other rebel groups, the problems of criminality and drugs, of corruption and underdevelopment.”
“Bless the people of Marawi. Bless the people of Mindanao, Bless our country. May harmony and justice be assured, and lasting prosperity come with peace. Amen.”
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