Palma releases Oratio Imperata to end spate of killings in Cebu

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol |August 16,2018 - 10:52 PM

AS the spate of unsolved killings in Cebu continues, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called on the people to turn to prayer and help stomp out all forms of violence.

The prelate on Thursday issued an Oratio Imperata, or a mandatory prayer which will be used in all Masses in the archdiocese.

The special prayer to “end the spate of killings in Cebu” will be said after the post communion prayer.

In a tally made by Cebu Daily News, at least 122 persons were killed in shooting incidents in Cebu over the last seven months.

Of the number, 99 individuals were gunned down by still unknown assailants — many of whom were masked men on board motorcycles — while the rest of the fatalities perished during police operations from February to August 16, 2018. Majority of these killings remain unsolved.

The prayer

In his Oratio Imperata, Palma called on God to intervene and touch people’s hearts for an end to the killings in Cebu and other parts of the country.

“Heavenly Father, the source of life and foundation of peace, we your children mourn, worry, and are anxious because of the successive murders of our brothers and sisters.”

“We beg you, awaken the minds of those who don’t even care, disturb the conscience of those who author the killings, touch the hearts of those who support the murders, and comfort those who mourn.”

“Give us the strength to fight evil with good, and to reject crooked ways. Protect us from the lies of the devil, and free our country from the power of Satan. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The prayer also invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Pedro Calungsod.

Fr. Japheth Geonzon, the archdiocesan liturgical master of ceremonies, said the Oratio Imperata shall be prayed in all churches and chapels in Cebu starting Thursday until the archbishop 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 also found a need to issue another Oratio Imperata as the clash between members of the Maute terror group and government troopers continued last year.

Geonzon said prayer has been an effective way to seek divine intervention.

“As human beings, we know our limitations. And so we ask God for help. We entrust our city and province to the Lord as we pray for an end to the series of killings. May we all promote and uphold the sanctity of life,” he said.

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