Hope amidst tragedy, prayer for a better year
We should welcome the New Year with renewed hope and a prayer for a better 2019, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the faithful.
In his New Year’s message, the prelate encouraged the people to stay strong amid the tragedies that have beset Cebu this year, among them the Naga landslide, the fire that razed many homes in Barangays Duljo Fatima and Kamputhaw, and the spate of killings.
“We always look back to the past with gratitude. It’s very important for us to welcome the New Year with hope,” said Palma.
“We don’t really know what the future holds but we stress that we know who holds the future. And the future is in the hands of God,” he continued.
The archbishop asked the faithful to continue praying for the hearts of perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, that they be moved by the call for justice.
Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Cebu released an Oratio Imperata on August 16, a prayer to stop the spate of killings which has reached 253 deaths by the end of the 2018.
The Oratio Imperata is still prayed in all Masses in the archdiocese as a special prayer that would serve as a “constant reminder” to the people to think of God first before engaging in criminal acts.
“We might be tempted to give up when problems come and when mysteries that are hard to fathom would be on their way, but we should just trust the Lord and believe that He cares for us,” said the prelate.
Palma also encouraged people to continue helping those who were struck by tragedies in the past year including the Naga landslide victims and the victims of the various fires that hit Cebu City.
The Naga landslide last Sept. 20, took the lives of more than 70 individuals and displaced at least 400 families.
The Kamputhaw fire on December 5 displaced 700 individuals, while the Duljo fire on Christmas Day claimed the life of a 12-year-old and left more than 2,000 people homeless.
“Let us make good use of the gifts to improve ourselves and make our communities a peaceful and more humane place to live in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Palma said he will be joining the delegation of Filipino bishops who will be visiting Rome for the ad limina apostolorum, which are scheduled meetings of bishops around the world and the Pope every five years.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is hoping that the Pope could visit the Philippines to celebrate the 500 years of the Roman Catholic presence in the country in 2021.
“That will be a new journey for us. Something to look forward to if the Pope chooses to grace the Philippines in 2021,” said the archbishop.
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