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No Holy Week for Marawi

MANILA (UCAN): There will be no Holy Week observance this year in Marawi, Mindanao, almost a year after Islamic State-inspired gunmen occupied the southern Philippine city on May 23 last year.
St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was desecrated and burned at the height of the five-month conflict that ended in October, remains closed.
This will be the first time that Holy Week has not been celebrated in the predominantly Muslim city, where more than 300,000 people remain in temporary shelters.
However, Bishop Edwin Dela Peña, assured that other parishes not affected by the fighting will continue serving parishioners.
Father Teresito Soganub, the vicar-general of the diocese, said he was still in “the healing stage” after his abduction by the gunmen. “I won’t be able to go back to my regular ministry yet,” the priest said.
He became emotional as he recalled his four months in the hands of the terrorist group.
“You face death every day. Sometimes it’s even every minute. You don’t know where the airstrikes will hit.... You wait for your death every minute,” he recently told journalists.
He said he survived his ordeal because of his faith in God.
“If it was just me, I wouldn’t have been able to endure it. I believed in the presence of God. I always asked Him to give me strength, not to leave me, and I knew he wouldn’t leave me,” Father Soganub said.
Aid to the Church in Need launched a fund-raising drive on March 23 to help rebuild Marawi.

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