Negros bishop launches peace prayer

March 10, 2024 - 5:54 PM
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Bishop Gerardo Alminaza leads the blessing of the icon image of “Reyna sang Paghidaet” (Queen of Peace) during Mass for the 7th General Assembly of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc at Acacia Convention Center in Bacolod City on March 6, 2024. (CBCP News)

The central Philippine diocese of San Carlos has released a “peace prayer” following sporadic clashes between state forces and suspected rebels in the hinterland of Escalante City in Negros Occidental.

The military offensive two weeks ago reportedly did airstrikes against alleged members of the New People’s Army in Sitio Mandulao of Barangay Pinapugasan, which is part of the parish of Dian-ay, displacing several families.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos on Thursday said the prayer is their “own contribution to the ongoing struggle for integral peace.”

“Let us work and pray for peace, let there be a nonviolent revolution for peace,” Alminaza said during Mass, with Bishop Cosme Damian of Butuan and Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Taytay as concelebrants.

The liturgy marked the last day of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. 7th General Assembly held in Bacolod City since Monday.

The diocese, human rights advocates, and civil society organizations continue to appeal for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the communist rebels.

Alminaza also led the blessing of the image of “Reyna Sang Paghidaet” (Queen of Peace), the patroness of the Dian-ay parish, with the Baybayin script reading “paghidaet,” the Hiligaynon word for integral peace.

In the icon, Mary is depicted praying with the symbol of peace and bearing a bullet wound, “to remind us of the importance of ending the continued killings and bloodbath in the Philippines,” he said.

The Blessed Mother also appears in tears “for all the victims of violence and injustice,” he added.

The symbol of the ‘Tree of Life’ also appears on the side, to represent “our oneness with creation and with the Creator; connecting our response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

“As a Church community, we endeavour to respond to the victims of ecological and social injustice,” Alminaza said.

Next week, from March 15 to 16, the bishop will also embark on a “pilgrimage for people, for the planet, for peace,” accompanied by the icon of Reyna sa Paghidaet in Assisi, Italy. While there, he will participate in a global ecumenical dialogue.

During this pilgrimage, the bishop aims to “amplify the global campaign to end the ongoing human rights violations against peasants and environmental defenders in the Philippines.”

The Peace Prayer of the icon of “Reyna sa Paghidaet” (Queen of Peace) reads as follows:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace:
let there be food for all,
let there be an end to wars,
let there be equality,
let there be justice,
let there be love.

Lord, form us to be artisans of your peace:
to value solidarity built on human fraternity,
to foster the common good shaped by concern for all,
to pursue peace fostered by justice,
to protect nature rooted in the culture of care,
to uplift the poor nurtured by authentic charity.

Lord, let peace be our prayer:
that there will be an end to killings and violence,
that there will be harmony among religions,
that there will be unity among societies,
that there will be peace among us.

Amen.