Pray for Iraqi, Syrian brethren, urges CBCP
MANILA, Philippines–Pray for the persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful on Monday. The group also enjoined priests to offer Masses on Sept. 14, Sunday, which has been declared a National Day of Prayer for Peace and Day for Charity for victims of hostilities in the two countries.
“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,” CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
“In all our Masses on the Feast of the Holy Cross, let us unite ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters, commending to God who is our hope, their pains, their shattered lives and dreams, their bereavement and their loss,” Villegas said.
In a letter to all archbishops and bishops in the country, Villegas said the CBCP Permanent Council had decided to observe the National Day of Prayer for Iraq and Syria in response to the call of Pope Francis. Aside from prayers for peace, the CBCP also urged believers to hold charity collections for victims of atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“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,” he said.
Villegas said all collections should be remitted to the CBCP Secretariat by Sept. 30 as the CBCP intends to immediately transmit them to the Apostolic Nunciatures in Iraq and Syria.
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