MANILA, Philippines?Amid Hong Kong?s outrage over the massacre of eight Chinese tourists during a botched hostage rescue in Manila last week, the Philippine Catholic Church is urging the Filipino faithful to storm the heavens with prayers for healing and forgiveness.
The Archdiocese of Manila?s Ministry of Liturgical Affairs issued two short ?Prayers of the Faithful? to be recited for a week during Mass.
The prayers started on Sunday for the victims of the deadly hostage-taking at Quirino Grandstand in Manila, their families and the entire nation that witnessed the tragedy.
The incident that killed the eight Hong Kong visitors and the hostage-taker ?deeply wounded our psyche and soul for its inexplicable violence and senseless brutality,? Rev. Fr. Genaro Diwa, director of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission, said in a memo issuing the prayers.
?That this tragic scenario played out under the glaring, and oftentimes, irresponsible coverage of the media, has magnified the hurt and pain of the family, friends, countrymen of those who perished, and also of all peace-loving citizens of our nation,? Diwa said.
The country?s broadcast media have come under fire for their blow-by-blow coverage of the incident that critics said aggravated the situation.
Time to turn to God
Diwa Monday said that in a period of mourning and self-examination, it was time ?to turn to God, the source of all consolation, wisdom and peace.?
?While many already have prayed and are praying for those who suffered in this unfortunate incident, we propose that we lead the congregation in a communal prayer through our prayers of the faithful,? said Diwa.
The memo was addressed to all parish priest, rectors, chaplains of parishes, shrines and chaplaincies in the Archdiocese of Manila.
The two prayers, to be recited during Mass until Sept. 5, read:
?For all who have died, especially those who lost their lives in the hostage-taking tragedy on Aug. 23, that in death they may pass on to complete freedom, to the land where there is neither tear nor sorrow, nor anger and pain, let us pray to the Lord.?
?For our brothers and sisters who are grieving and in pain at the tragic death of loved ones, countrymen, and fellowmen, at the Aug. 23 hostage crisis, for all of us who witnessed this violent and senseless taking of innocent lives, that we may not allow the power of hatred to blind us but that we may discover the creative power of forgiveness and understanding to stop the cycle of violence and hatred, let us pray to the Lord.?
Plea for forgiveness
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal Monday said the nation must allow the anger of Hong Kong residents to subside ?because nobody thought the incident would have a bloody end.?
?We should ask the Chinese for forgiveness and understanding as we express our deepest sympathies for their loss and we?ll join them in prayers that their dearly departed will rest in peace and the wounded recover in due time,? Vidal said.
The Catholic Church is holding a concelebrated Mass at Quirino Grandstand on Tuesday to mark the ninth day of the tragedy.
The Catholic Bishops? Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Monday also raised the possibility of ?making representations? to its counterpart in Hong Kong to extend its sympathies and concern in the aftermath of last week?s incident.
In its news website, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said that the plan would be decided by the CBCP Permanent Council in a meeting in the second week of September.
?While we cannot prevent the negative reaction from Hong Kong and Chinese residents and leaders, I can only hope reason and sobriety will prevail,? Lagdameo said on CBCPNews.
The former CBCP president noted that President Benigno Aquino III put the ?right foot forward? in attempting to ease the outrage in Hong Kong by making an apology.
?There is a possibility that the CBCP will also make representations with their counterparts in Hong Kong although it would depend on the decision of the CBCP Permanent Council,? Lagdameo said.