MANILA — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged Archbishops and Bishops in the country to pray for peace In Iraq and Syria on Sunday, September 14, 2014.
This after the CBCP Permanent Council declared the second Sunday of September as the National Day of Prayer for Peace in Iraq and Syria.
In a letter sent to all prelates in the country, CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the declaration of National Day of prayer for the two counties is in response to the call of Pope Francis to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“We request the Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops to oblige all priests to celebrate all Masses that day for the special intention of the persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate added, “In all our masses on the feast of the Holy Cross, let us unite ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters, commending to the God, who is our hope, their pains, their shattered lives and dreams, their bereavement and their loss.”
“We pray that even as many of them now see no way out of the misery that has been visited on them, the God, who opens paths through the sea and ways in the desert, may make a way for them to the future that can only be His gift,” furthered Villegas.
He also asked its members to hold charity collections for the ISIS victims in Iraq and Syria.
“For many, the food and drink that sustain life are daily issues. They rise from sleep each day to struggle just to keep themselves alive,” the head of the CBCP said.
“We must be generous, and the fact that we have our own needs here in the Philippines, does not excuse us from the Christian obligation of sharing with our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria from our own need,” Villegas added.
All collections will be remitted to the CBCP Secretariat by September 30 and to be to immediately transmitted to the charity aid to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Iraq and Syria.
In the past weeks, the ISIS have been persecuting religious minorities in Iraq by beheading children and burying people alive if they refuse to convert to Islam, pay the Islamic tax on non-Muslims, or leave the country.
With this, Pope Francis expressed grave concern over the persecution of Christians in the Middle East state while assuring them of his solidarity and prayers.