Cordians Join Inter-Religious Prayer for Peace and Unity

Article/News by: Jane Clarice Sardona, ABComm 3
Date Posted: September 23, 2017

Around 80 Cordians joined the inter-religious prayer for peace and unity with the theme "Halina't Magkaisa, Magnilay tayo para sa Kapayapaang Nakabatay sa Katarungan" organized by the Quezon Ecumenical Movement (QEM) last September 18, 2017 at the covered court of St. Alphonsus Regional Seminary, Brgy Isabang, Lucena City. QEM members such as pastors, priests, religious, seminarians and laity from the Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Christ Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Indepediente, United Methodist Church, Pastolic Catholic Church, Focolare Movement were present. Students and faculty from Maryhill College Lucena City and Dalubhasaang Lungsod ng Lucena and Imam from Muslim community in Lucena also attended.

The program started with a song entitled “Kapayapaan” rendered by the selected seminarians of St. Alphonsus Regional Seminary, a body prayer entitled “Prayer for Peace” follows, led by participants from Sacred Heart College. In the opening remarks of Rev. Rowel G. Telmo, IFI, QEM chairman, emphasized the objectives of the forum, that is, to push and maintain the quality of human life, no matter what religion; to attain true peace anchored in justice; to push unity among Filipinos against wars and terrorism, graft and corruption, abuse on farmers, fishermen, violation on human rights and the like; give financial support for the victims in Marawi City for them to have their necessities such as food, clothes, safe drinking water etc.; and to open up to God the problems that our country are facing now.

In the solidarity greetings, Rev. Ysmael D. Cataag, UCCP said that "Si Kristo ang kapayapaan", while Ishmael Kataa, Muslim Imam, wholeheartedly thanked the QEM for giving them importance in the said event and for praying for Mindanao. Rev. Msgr. Andrew Castro’s greetings emphasized that inter religious dialogues are good, to maintain a healthy relationships among Christians and other denominations. He added that instead of talking about our differences we should focus and talk about our common concerns and aims. He also quoted from the Pope social encyclical, Populorum Progressio that development is the new name for peace. Peace cannot be limited to near absence of war, peace is something we build up day by day.

Guest speaker Bishop Joel E. Tendero, UCCP, South Luzon Jurisdictional Area begins with, “Buhay ay karapatan at dakilang kaloob mula sa ating Panginoon. It is our commitment to care for one another; this is one of the elements of love. We should love our fellow Filipinos and God.” He narrated the danger of the Nuclear weapon that rich countries are producing. He said, it inflicts unspeaking suffering with blast, heat and radiation that may affect our health. He mentioned, Pope Francis called for a “World without Nuclear Weapons” and 150 nations led by the Vatican agreed and supports this campaign. Other issues such as war in Marawi, passage of Bangsamoro Law, War on Drugs and Extra Judicial Killings were highlighted as a threat in attaining peace in our country. According to him, there are four substance of Peace talk that should be addressed; Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Right and International Humanitarian law, Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reform (CASER), Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reform and lastly to End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces. Finally, he challenged everyone when he said “Ang kapayapaan ay mahirap makamtan kung tayo mismong mga naniniwala sa Diyos ay hindi mag kakaisa. Ang kapayapaan ay proyekto ng tao upang tayo ay mag-kaisa”.

A panel of reactors gave their insights and reflections about the talk of the guest speaker. Imam Ishmael Kataa expressed himself by saying “Peace, wag kayong matakot. Sumainyo ang kapayapaan”. Bro. Jesse Pili a peace advocate expressed his feeling of anguish due to continued abuse in human dignity which threatens our desire for peace in the country. From the academe, Professor Julio Ramilo of Dalubhasaang Lungsod ng Lucena, shared that the peace forum is very timely, knowing that there is a crisis in Marawi City. He challenged everyone that the information each one received and learned from the forum should be shared to others. Last reactor Sr. Nenita Divina Pateña, DC from Sacred Sacred Heart College, shared her experience during Martial Law in 1972 - 1986. Wherein, this experience according to her seems happening again in the Duterte’s administration. She ended “Ang kapayapaan ay handog ng Diyos sa atin. Kailangam natin mag sumikap upang ang bawat isa satin ay maging daan ng kapayapaan.”

An act of commitment through prayers for peace and unity was prayed and a unity song “Let there be Peace on Earth” was sung while everyone lights a candle that symbolizes Jesus the Prince of Peace and the Light of the World. A monetary offering was collected by the seminarians which according to Rev. Telmo will be donated to the victims of war in Marawi City.

The forum ended with a unity eating or “boodle fight” lunch that was shared by every QEM members. Every participant is challenged to be an advocate and instrument of peace as they go back to their institution and community because they realized that as they aspire for peace on earth, this should start from each one.

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