Cebu archbishop recalls brother-soldier’s death during Mass for SAF44
CEBU CITY—The deaths of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces reminded Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma of the loss his own family experienced.
Palma’s younger brother, a captain in the Philippine Marines, died in an ambush in Jolo several years ago, according to the prelate during the Mass Friday offered for the SAF commandos on the 40th day of their death.
“Every time I think of him and those who died, I say to myself, may we give importance to the value sa atong mga kaigsoonan (our brothers) who give their lives for peace,” said Palma in his Homily.
“We must value peace and life,” he added.
Palma officiated the Mass for the 44 SAF commandos about 5 p.m. on Friday at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City.
The widows of PO1 Windel Candano and PO1 Romeo Cempron, however, were a no-show in the Mass organized by the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UMBAS) of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).
Fr. Carmelo Diola, UMBAS member, said they were informed that Dr. Christine Cempron was attending the Mass in Consolacion town, Cebu that her family had organized for her husband.
Michelle Candano, on the other hand, was attending to her father who was admitted in the hospital, said Diola.
In his Homily, Palma said the Mass was not only for the 44 SAF members but also for the five civilians and 18 Muslim fighters who died in the encounter on Jan. 25.
“We lift them to God. Hatagan unta sila ug pahulay na dayon (They would be given eternal rest). Life would not be the same again for them,” he said.
He quoted the message of Pope Francis in Tacloban City, Leyte during the Holy Father’s visit on Jan. 17 to comfort the survivors of during the onslaught of supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
“Dili man nato masabtan. Dili man ta kahatag ug explinasyon sa nahitabo (We cannot understand it. We cannot give an explanation why it happened). I know He will not abandon us,” he added.
Palma also called on everyone to pray for peace and the attainment of peace.
The Mass ended with the lighting of the candles and prayers for the eternal repose of those who died in Mamasapano.
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