MANILA — Firmly believing that Divine intervention will result in the successful conclusion of any tasks, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Monday directed all military chaplains assigned to the AFP to dedicate their daily rosary prayer for the safe visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines in January 2015.
He made this call during Monday’s mass at St. Ignatius Cathedral in Camp Aguinaldo.
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country from Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.
Monday’s mass was held in commemoration of the 97th Anniversary of the “Great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima” at the St. Ignatius Cathedral in Camp Aguinaldo.
An estimated 500 soldiers and civilians attended the event.
Catapang has also invited other Marian devotees to attend daily rosary prayers that will be conducted every morning at the St. Ignatius Cathedral.
Acting AFP Chief Chaplain Service, Col. Bernardo T. Odfina said, “We are very much concerned for the successful visit of the Holy Father, Pope Francis here in the Philippines; and as father of the AFP, Gen. Catapang is responsible for leading the whole armed forces in supporting the government’s efforts to ensure the safe and peaceful visit of the Holy Pope.”
Catapang also urged the faithful to dedicate these daily novena prayers for the civilian hostages who are believed to be in the hands of the bandit group, Abu Sayyaf.
On Sunday, the AFP chief visited Sulu to boost the morale of the frontline soldiers who are currently tasked to conduct focused-military operations against the terrorist group.
Recently, several units were deployed to Sulu to augment security operations in the area.
Among the units that were deployed in the province include the 35th and 32nd Infantry battalions which are known to be veterans in fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Currently, there are about 88 percent Catholics in the 120,000-strong AFP.
There are also buildings dedicated as house for prayers for followers of major religions such as Catholicism, Islam, Iglesia Ni Cristo, and Protestants in all major military camps all over the country.