CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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A prayer for the nation

HONG KONG (SE): The celebration of Philippine Independence Day began in solemn prayer for the welfare of the nation at an interfaith service in Chater Road on June 12.

Muslim, Protestant and Catholic faith leaders expressed gratitude for the national heroes of the country as well as praying for peace.

They also asked the Lord to inspire the newly-elected president, Rodrigo Duterte, as well all government officials to serve the people with wisdom and, in the fear of the Lord, to put the interests of the people first.

Sister Felicitas Nisperos asked that the new administration will govern with peace, integrity and honesty. “Give them all the courage and strength they need so that they will serve not with many words, but in many deeds,” she prayed.

Reverend Melvin Calucin, from the Family of Christ Christian Fellowship, asked for better relationships with other countries, as well as a stronger community spirit and unity among the many migrant workers in the city.

A Mass was then celebrated by Father Jay Flandez, chaplain for Filipino migrants, and Father Efren Ojeda. Around 300 people braved the occasional downpours as they gathered around the altar.

Father Flandez said that sin strips us of our identity as children of God, so we need to acknowledge our sinfulness before the Lord and ask forgiveness.

As the country celebrated its 118th anniversary of independence, Father Flandez reminded the Filipino people that their roots are in The Philippines. “We will not be happy without acknowledging our roots,” he said.

He added that otherwise, there will always be something lacking in Filipino people’s hearts, so they should hold their heads high with pride in their identity, despite the nation’s shortcomings, like the abuse of power.

He said he too feels gratitude for the national heroes who died for the love of country and thanked God for the chance to celebrate Independence Day in Hong Kong as one people.

The Philippine consul general, Bernardita Catalla, wished every Filipino present a happy birthday as the whole nation was born again after it achieved independence from Spain in 1898.

She welcomed the new administration, saying that there will be new challenges that she hopes it will be able to deal with. She added that while sustaining economic growth is important, the government must also pay attention to human rights issues.

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