Church leaders reiterated their message to unite and not to lose hope in the midst of killings and impunity that presently beset the Country through a prayer vigil held in the light of the second State Of the Nation Address (SoNA) of President Duterte at the San Antonio de Padua Parish in Batasan Hills, Quezon City last July 24, 2017.
“Tayo ay magkaisa, magtiwala sa Diyos, at sama-sama nating ipagdasal ang kapayapaan sa ating bansa at makamit ang tunay na hustisya,” said Church-Workers Solidarity Convenor Fr. Rudy Abao in His Homily during the Vigil’s 12NN Eucharistic Celebration.
“Let us put our trust in Him at huwag tayo’ng mawalan ng pagasa,” he emphasized, citing the day’s readings when Moses led the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.
The Vigil started at midnight with the Eucharistic Celebration lead by Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Most Rev. Deogracias Iñiguez, D.D.. This was followed by two more Eucharistic Celebrations, one at 6AM by our very own Bishop, Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D. and at 12NN by Fr. Abao.
A neighbor to the House of Representatives where the President delivered his second SONA, the San Antonio de Padua Parish was filled with prayers for peace and justice, for unity among the people, and for discernment to distinguish the truth. Both the House of Representatives and the San Antonio de Padua Parish are within the Diocese of Novaliches.
Fr. Abao acknowledged the presence of many young people–now commonly referred to as “millenials”–present during Holy Mass through various Youth groups and organizations such as #YouthResist also known as Millenials Against Dictators (MAD), and the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP). He urged them to genuinely care and stand up against wrong-doings since their future is at stake.
The 17-hour event was participated in by civil society groups and youth leaders, such as the Vigil’s organizer Kilusan Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), as well as, government officials like Senator Risa Hontiveros.
It culminated with a “Human HashTag Protest” with the Youth assembling themselves outside the Church with a sign that read “ALT-SONA” (Alternative SONA) and “Fake SONA”, declaring the President’s annual report to the Nation as untruthful.
“We will stand for the defense of truth, fact and the right to life, despite the fact that this government has tried to deceive us with fake news,” insisted #YouthResist spokesperson Karla Yu during the Vigil.
“We will stand our ground against the stifling of dissent and the normalization of violence,” she ended.
The Diocese of Novaliches is one of the dioceses of the Catholic Church in the Country that have actively spoken against Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) since many cases happened within its area. The Pastoral Office of the Diocese is currently documenting cases of EJK within its jurisdiction in the hope of identifying the actual number of victims and the pastoral needs of the bereaved families. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)