Jonathan Casimina, Bishop of Davao in the Philippines, led a candlelight memorial service at Roxas Night Market, the site of last week’s terrorist attacks, where two improvised explosive devices were set off, killing 14 and wounded more than 70 in the market that houses street stalls and cafes.
A makeshift shrine has been erected at the site of the explosions with messages of grief and condolences along with hopeful prayers for all those who mourn.
Brother Gilbert Martinez from the Diocese of Davao said “Amidst the gloomy atmosphere of fear and speculations, rays of hope still shine through the darkness with the continued presence and demonstration of solidarity and resilience among local residents rooted in their faith. The outpouring of support from all sectors both here and abroad in responding to the plight of the victims continued, and providing support to the city’s immediate and valiant efforts to bury the dead with dignity, ease the pain of the survivors, and pursue justice.”
The diocese sent liturgical outlines to partner churches and dioceses throughout the Anglican Communion so that simultaneous candlelit memorial services of prayer could be held.
The island of Mindanao has been involved in what is known as the Maro Conflict, an ongoing insurgency dating back decades and triggered by the killings of a groupsof Filipino Muslim commandos by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Bishop Casimina has condemned the market attack saying that the island of Mindanao had “suffered long enough from the shadow of war”.
He went on to say that under the shadow of “widespread trauma and fear linked to militarization, economic injustice, climate change, and a myriad of other specific forms of violence,” the Church “stands for peace in the presence of conflict; for love in the presence of hatred; for forgiveness in the presence of injury” and most importantly for justice to be served on the victims of violence.
“Justice and peace are central to our faith and essential component of the ministry of the Church. lt is in that spirit that we condemn in unequivocal terms this grievous act of bloodshed that kills and maim the innocent.
“We call on all people of goodwill to stand in solidarity to uphold and defend the sacredness of life and the dignity of every person regardless of race, religion or culture. We call on the government to conduct thorough investigation and hold accountable the perpetrators of the bombing.
“We offer our earnest prayers to all the victims and express our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families of those who perished; and we appeal to the government to address the root causes of conflict, mainly economic injustice, oppression and exploitation.”
He added: “Our Divine Creator pours grace and courage upon us through the power of the Holy Spirit to respond to the challenges of time. We pray that the ‘Lord give strength and bless his people with peace!’ We pray for the good people of Davao. We pray for peace to reign in our land.”
Story information from ACS
Photo Credit: Diocese of Davao