Pray to end killings, Cebu archbishop tells faithful
CEBU CITY—Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has called on Catholic residents of Cebu to turn to prayer to help end all forms of violence as the number of victims of street executions in Metro Cebu increased this year.
Palma last week issued an “Oratio Imperata,” or a mandatory prayer, to “end the spate of killings in Cebu.”
The prayer is recited after the post-communion prayer during Masses in the archdiocese.
At least 122 people were killed in shooting incidents in Cebu over the last seven months.
Of the number, 99 were gunned down by still unknown assailants—many of whom were masked men on board motorcycles—while the rest were killed in police operations against suspected criminals from February to Aug. 16.
In his Oratio Imperata, Palma called on God to intervene and touch people’s hearts to stop the series of killings in Cebu and other parts of the country.
“We beg you (God), awaken the minds of those who don’t even care, disturb the conscience of those who author the killings, touch the hearts of those who support the murders, and comfort those who mourn,” part of the prayer said.
According to Fr. Japheth Geonzon, archdiocesan liturgical master of ceremonies, the Oratio Imperata will be recited in all churches and chapels in Cebu province until the archbishop revokes it.
An Oratio Imperata is a traditional Catholic invocation where the bishop leads the community in prayer for a special intention.
In previous years, it was used in Cebu to seek divine protection during the conduct of elections, peace in the Middle East, and safety from typhoons and outbreak of various diseases.
It was also recited for the success of the 2007 Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Summit held in Cebu.
“As human beings, we know our limitations, and so we ask God for help. We entrust our city and province to the Lord as we pray for an end to the series of killings. May we all promote and uphold the sanctity of life,” Geonzon said. —ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL
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