5,000 people join ‘Walk for Life With Mary’ in Cebu to denounce killings
CEBU CITY — Carrying lighted candles while praying the rosary and singing chants, at least 5,000 people joined the dawn procession on Saturday to denounce the series of killings in the country and to seek divine intervention to get rid of all threats against life and family.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma led the 2-kilometer “Walk for Life with Mary” from Fuente Osmeña to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City.
The 67-year-old prelate also presided over the Mass at the cathedral to close the event.
In his homily, Palma reminded the people about the sanctity of life, marriage, and family.
He stressed that the Catholic Church supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs but is concerned about the way it is being carried out.
“We question the manner it is done because of questionable motives and circumstances. This may not be the will of God for them,” he said.
“No man has the right to [end] another’s life. God is the beginning and end of life. Let us protect life from womb to tomb,” he said.
“I hope all threats to life and the series killings will stop because we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus and Mary. The Lord came that we may have life and live it to the full,” he added.
In a circular he earlier released, Palma said the “Walk for Life with Mary” was aimed at asking God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to preserve the country from all forms of evil.
“We shall call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of Cebu, to intercede for us during this crucial time in our country, to protect the sanctity of life and family, the weak and vulnerable, the unborn children and those who suffer from addiction, violence, and injustice,” he said.
Representatives from the different parishes, schools and other institutions in Cebu joined the dawn procession and Mass.
An image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu, the patroness of the archdiocese, was displayed during the procession.
Cebu City Police Deputy Director for Operations Supt. Emily Santos estimated the crowd that joined the procession and Mass at about 5,000.
“It was generally peaceful,” she said.
Similar events were also held simultaneously in Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Laguna, and Tarlac.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the activity in Manila.
Meanwhile, Fe Barino, chairperson of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on the Laity, said prayer is a powerful tool to confront various threats against life, marriage and family.
The Catholic Church, in particular, voiced out concerns over the series of killings in the country since the war on drugs was started by President Duterte in July 2016.
Church leaders also opposed the different pending bills, which they say, aim to destroy the sanctity of life such as divorce. Saturday’s events were organized by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas and the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate (ECLA) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. /muf
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