Bishop says poor in PH ‘diminished or killed’
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — One of Pampanga province’s highest ranking Church officials urged the faithful to pray for the poor and officials and policemen under attack for the bloody war on drugs.
Archbishop Florentino Lavarias, head of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, made the call during the Sept. 8 Mass celebrating the 61st canonical coronation of Virgen de los Remedios, Pampanga’s patroness, at the capitol.
Crusade of penance
Lavarias’ predecessor, Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero, started the postwar crusade of penance and charity in 1956 amid the social unrest of the period.
Without referring to any incident, Lavarias said the poor today “are diminished or killed.”
Lavarias also said police had been perceived as threats, so he asked the faithful to pray for the “erring ones.”
Last year, he and Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto called on the faithful “not to be indifferent” to the killings amid the government’s drive against illegal drugs.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, said the organization was purging corrupt and abusive cops.
“We are a Church of the poor. Christ has preferential love for the poor,” Lavarias said.
He appealed to public officials to spend government funds on programs that uplift the lives of poor families.
He apologized for not having done enough for the poor and expressed gratitude for a priest who visited sick people and a US-based Filipino who sent home money during Christmas to give to poor families for their “noche buena.”
The crusade of penance requires the images of the Virgen de los Remedios and Santo Cristo del Perdon to be brought to parishes for the gathering of the lamac (offerings) for the poor. The Social Action Center of Pampanga uses these for poverty-reduction projects. —Tonette Orejas
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