MANILA, Philippines—The nation takes a pause from its daily grind on Monday to pray.
Malacañang exhorted Filipinos of all faiths and persuasions to observe simultaneously at 5 p.m. on Monday a national day of prayer.
From Malacañang, President Benigno Aquino III, along with religious leaders, will lead an interfaith gathering with the theme, “One Nation in Prayer (Isang Bansa, Isang Panalangin).”
The interfaith prayer meeting gives the nation a moment to take stock of disasters that, according to the President himself, tested the patience of millions of Filipinos but failed to break the Filipino spirit.
The national day of prayer gives everyone a chance not only “to remember the lives lost to the tragic incidents of 2013,” but more importantly, “to thank the Almighty for the nation’s strength and resilience, and to seek divine guidance as the country moves forward to rebuild the affected communities,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
To join the President in prayer are representatives of the affected communities of the series of disasters in 2013: Zamboanga standoff, Bohol earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
Representatives of various faiths will also offer prayers: Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of the Catholic Church, Police Superintendent Imam Ebra Moxsir of the Imam Council of the Philippines, Commissioner Zenaida Pawid of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Isaias Samson of Iglesia ni Cristo and Bishop Jonel Milan of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.
Also invited to join the prayer at the Malacañang Palace grounds are leaders and members of Congress, government officials and representatives of civil society and various faith groups, said Coloma.
According to Palace officials, the prayer gathering is a rare occasion for Filipinos to pray as one nation, thanking God for the resiliency given to survivors of manmade and natural calamities, and the extraordinary response of the world that alleviated the sufferings of the survivors.
The event, which will last for 30 to 45 minutes, will be telecast live by TV and radio stations across the country.
Singer-composer Ryan Cayabyab and his group will perform musical numbers in between prayers.
“We thank the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas for their coverage of this event that will enable more Filipinos to participate and join ‘One Nation in Prayer,’” said Coloma.