Church launches prayer campaign amid killings
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church on Tuesday, September 20, launched a weeks-long prayer campaign for peace in the face of widespread killings and political bickering in the Philippines.
On Tuesday morning, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas led the launching of "A Million Roses for the World: Filipinos at Prayer for the Nation."
In this campaign, the Catholic Church is requesting Filipinos to pray 5 mysteries of the rosary every day from September 20 to December 23.
"You cannot imagine what prayer can do," Villegas told reporters after the launch at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Manila.
Villegas was responding to a question on what prayer can do in the face of around 3,000 deaths in the Philippine government's war on drugs.
The archbishop continued: "I'm a priest, and I believe that the most important thing that we must do is to pray. And even if prayer looks very impractical or prayer looks like there is no connection to the present situation, believe me, prayer can change hearts and prayer can change everybody."
In an earlier statement on this prayer campaign, Villegas explained that the Philippines is "now a nation wounded and torn by socio-cultural and political issues, divided by opposing, bickering, quarrelling, and even hating factions."
"We must stop the hate. We must stop the lies…Let us the resist the culture of terror and fear with the balm of prayer and mercy," Villegas said.
'Pray as a united nation'
He then pointed out: "We have forgotten to pray. We have neglected to pray. We have been too busy with ourselves building our towers of Babel."
"Let us pray for the whole nation. Let us pray as a united nation," he added.
The start of the prayer campaign coincides with the World Day of Prayer for Peace proclaimed by Pope Francis.
The "Million Roses for the World" prayer campaign is spearheaded by the CBCP, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, the Live Christ, Share Christ Movement, Aid to the Church in Need, Couples for Christ FFL, the Family Rosary Crusade, and the Mother Butler Mission Guilds.
The prayer campaign comes as President Rodrigo Duterte wages a war on drugs that has killed at least 3,295 people since July 1, a day after he took office.
Of this number, 1,167 have been killed in legitimate police operations as of September 20.
On the other hand, 2,128 have been slain in extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings as of September 18.
The CBCP has condemned this spate of killings in the Philippines. – Rappler.com