CBCP sets 40 days of prayer for drug war, Marawi victims
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged Filipinos to observe 40 days of prayer, from September 23 until November 1, for victims of drug war killings and the raging conflict in Marawi City.
"We invite you to offer prayers particularly for those killed in the government's campaign against drugs, as well as for all victims of violence and the war in Marawi, in our country for a 40-day period, starting September 23 and ending on November 1," the CBCP said.
"Please offer the rosary daily for the killed, and receive Holy Communion as an offering for their souls. May the souls of the killed find rest. Prayer heals us. Prayer helps their souls," the bishops added.
The CBCP made this call in a statement that was issued Tuesday, September 12, and signed by outgoing CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
At the time the statement was released, more than 14,100 people had been killed in both police operations and vigilante-style killings since President Rodrigo Duterte began his drug war in July 2016. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: 'We cannot govern the nation by killing')
In Marawi City, clashes have raged between government troops and terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) for the past 112 days. At least 147 government forces, 45 civilians, and 660 terrorists have been killed in the Marawi conflict.
Pealing of church bells
In its statement, the CBCP also appealed "for the pealing of church bells at 8 pm during the same 40-day period in remembrance of the souls of those killed." The bishops said, "Let the bells call us to pray for the dead."
Initially implemented by Villegas for his archdiocese, the 8 pm tolling of church bells is being replicated in other dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Manila.
The CBCP too urged Filipino Catholics "to light candles" in front of their homes, in cemeteries, and in public places during this 40-day prayer period.
The bishops particularly recommended the lighting of candles in spots where victims of violence have lost their lives. "Candle-lighting can soothe grieving hearts."
"Finally, we beg you to contribute to the support and the schooling of the orphaned children of the victims of these murders, or of their siblings, or the support and sustenance of their families. Almsgiving covers many sins. Almsgiving heals," the CBCP said.
In their strongest appeal against drug-related killings, the Philippines' Catholic bishops declared on Tuesday: "In the name of God, stop the killings!"
At the same time, they said, "Let the healing begin." – Rappler.com