BAGUIO CITY—The running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes, received his cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday before preparing to pray for 13 minutes at 1 p.m.
Reyes is popularizing a movement called the 131313 Puliti-Kalinisan, which encourages voters and candidates to stop and reflect on the 13th hour of each day for 13 minutes until May 13, Election Day.
The movement was launched on Feb. 13 in Manila by an ecumenical group, among them Muslims and Protestants, he said.
Reyes was at the 131313 program launch here because he was attending the provincial chapter of the Order of Friars Minor, a gathering of Franciscan priests, at the Little Flower Retreat House.
“We wish to promote the daily practice of contemplative, discerning and transformative silence,” he said.
At 1 p.m. everyday, considered the 13th hour after noon, the faithful are asked to observe silence for at least 13 minutes “to go back to God,” said Reyes.
“Thirteen minutes of silence is both literal and symbolic,” he said.
“At a minimum, we find 13 minutes of quiet time but we may slowly extend it. We can also share this sacred time with those willing to sit in silence with others,” he said.
Puliti-Kalinisan’s page on Facebook was also launched on Wednesday. Facebook users who sign up become part of the “Circles of Silence” that promise to observe 13 minutes of silence every 1 p.m. daily until May 13.
“People are drawn to noise of the campaign but they are not led to the deeper discernment of candidates,” said Reyes.
“This is an inexpensive way of calling for clean and prayerful elections,” he said.
Reyes said politics in the Philippines has evolved into an orgy of violence, cheating and patronage.
But if there’s one thing voters should reject, he said, these are “epal” candidates.
“Epal makes use of Photoshop to enhance their images,” said Reyes. “Don’t look at the external image, look at what is inside. Silence allows us to look inside,” he said. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon