End EJKs: 2 Mindanao dioceses join bell ringing
KIDAPAWAN CITY — Church bells here and in Cagayan de Oro City will ring starting 8 p.m. Friday to call for a stop to extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country, an end to the crisis in Marawi City and the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.
In a circular issued to all priests, Catholic-run schools and religious groups, Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said the ringing of church bells in the diocese would continue for 40 days to urge all Catholics to pray for all victims of EJKs in the country.
“When they hear the bells at 8 p.m., they (Catholics) are urged to pray one ‘Our father,’ three ‘Hail Mary’ or pray the Holy Rosary,” Bagaforo said in an interview on Monday.
In the same circular, the prelate also asked the faithful to raise funds, through alms giving, to help the families left by EJK victims.
“The funds raised during the 40-day campaign will be sent to the (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) as assistance to EJK victims,” said Bagaforo, whose jurisdiction included all Catholic churches in the second and third congressional districts of North Cotabato province.
“I am appealing to all our churches and communities to revive the tradition of ringing the ‘De Profundis’ bells at 8 every evening and to say the prayers for the dead,” said Archbishop Antonio Ledesma in Cagayan de Oro City.
“Let this be our sign of protest against extrajudicial killings in the ‘war on drugs.’ Let this also be our call to prayer until the end of martial law — in solidarity with all the affected families in the Marawi crisis, especially those who have lost loved ones,” Ledesma said in a pastoral letter on Aug. 28.
But there will be no ringing of bells for EJK victims in the nearby Archdiocese of Cotabato as Orlando Cardinal Quevedo has not issued any directive, said Father Loreto Sanoy of the Diocesan Clergy of Cotabato.
Church authorities said that except for the dioceses of Kidapawan and Cagayan de Oro, there had been no directive to ring the bells in parishes and other dioceses in Mindanao.
In Albay, Catholic Church leaders called on the faithful to keep praying for the end of drug-related killings.
In an earlier interview, Fr. Rex Arjona, executive director of Social Action Center and spokesperson of the Diocese of Legazpi, said church bells continued to ring in Albay’s 47 parishes every 9 p.m. to remind people to pray for divine intervention and guidance for the government to adopt proper measures in its war against illegal drugs.
The tolling of bells began in December last year as an appeal to President Duterte to stop the spate of extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on drugs. The ringing of church bells in Albay is followed by prayers. —Edwin O. Fernandez, with a report from Mar S. Arguelles
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