CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 May 2018

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Catholics in Marawi join Muslims in observing Ramadan

MARAWI (UCAN) Catholics in the battle-scarred southern Philippine city of Marawi, Mindanao, have joined the predominantly Muslim community in welcoming the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan.
 
A thousand Catholic and Muslim residents participated in the start of the Duyog Ramadan (One with Ramadan) celebration spearheaded by the Catholic territorial prelature in the city’s Datu Saber district on May 13.
 
The annual celebration, which started in 1979, aims to encourage Christian families to accompany their Muslim neighbours in fasting, prayer and service to the poor.
 
“Fasting and prayer are major commonalities among Christians and Muslims,” said Redemptorist Father Gary Alvarado, head of the group Duyog Marawi (Together Marawi). 
 
He said it is not a new concept, “but it would strengthen bonds.”
 
Duyog Marawi is a rehabilitation project of Marawi’s Catholic territorial prelature and the Redemptorists in the war-torn city.
 
“After the destruction of the city, Catholics need to show more solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Father Alvarado said.
 
Bishop Edwin dela Peña of Marawi, said Duyog Ramadan is “an appreciation of the early memories” of Muslim and Christian interaction in the city.  
 
The programme encourages Christian families “to sacrifice one meal” on any day of Ramadan and to donate the cost of the meal to the rehabilitation of Marawi communities.
 
The bishop said there would be peace-building activities especially among young Muslims and Christians in Mindanao.
 
Reynaldo Barnido, executive secretary of Duyog Marawi, said the Ramadan activity would not only be a symbolic gesture for Catholics but “a vow to accompany Muslims even in the hardest times.”
 
He said, “This year’s Ramadan is a celebration of victory against individuals and groups who intended to destroy the unity we’re forging between Christians and Muslims.”
 
Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar of Marawi, said, “Let Ramadan be our guide towards reconciliation and peace,” adding, “The most important lesson amidst fasting and prayer is how we learn to open ourselves to others through works of charity and service to those in need.” 
 
Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the social action secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the Duyog Ramadan programme should be adopted across the country.

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