Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon directed all churches under the Diocese of Bacolod to hold a “holy hour” while President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his penultimate State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27.
“We shall pray for our country and particularly for our leaders so that, like Solomon, they too may be given an understanding heart, able to discern right from wrong, capable of serving the common good above personal interest, and accountable to the people who elected them and to God who is the source of every authority,” Buzon said in his homily on Sunday, July 26.
Buzon issued a circular letter which the parish priests, parochial vicars, chaplains, and rectors of churches will open during the “holy hour”. Duterte is expected to give his SONA at 4 pm at the Batasan Pambansa.
While Duterte gives his SONA, the priests will read the circular letter which includes the statement of the Diocese of Bacolod on a House committee’s rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise application which resulted in the shutdown of the country’s largest media network and the retrenchment of more than 11,000 employees.
“As the Church, let us be one in ‘prayerful vigilance’ as we call on our government leaders to be accountable to their sworn duty to pursue the common good,” Buzon said, adding:
“We also remind our people to do their share in keeping our society safe and our democracy vibrant.”
For his part, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called for “peace between our state forces and groups, even those who are dubbed as rebels, who express dissent at the ways of the government.”
Alminaza also pleaded to government to stop the “immoral killings” of the people.
“Our Diocese opposes this Anti-Terrorism Law, which in itself transforms our society from a governing body into a criminal state. The government must respect freedom of expression, should not give unlawful power to state forces to arrest and inflict terror, and must never desecrate the people’s civil and democratic rights,” he said.
Alminaza said “our situation during this pandemic calls for restraint and discerning governance.”
“All efforts must be centered in addressing the COVID-19 crisis with integral medical solutions, and not focused on disguised approaches that are making our people suffer more,” the bishop said.
On the eve of Duterte’s SONA, the Manila Cathedral released a music video titled, “A Call to Prayer and Action”, which quickly became viral in the Catholic social media sphere.
“O bayan ko, kailan ka tatayo? / Kay rami nang dugong inalay sa ‘yo / O bayan ko, ang oras ay malapit nang maubos / Bangon na, O bangon bayan,” goes the song of National Artist Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, which ABS-CBN said was first performed in 1998.
(O my nation, when will you rise up? / A lot of blood has been spilled for you / O my nation, time is running out / Rise up, rise up, O rise up, nation.)
The video also features two outspoken Church leaders who have earned the ire of Duterte: Bishop Broderick Pabillo, temporary head of the Archdiocese of Manila; and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, protégé of the late Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin who helped mount the 1986 revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos. – Rappler.com