CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 2019

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Filipinos honour Christian martyrs

MANILA (UCAN): The façades of Catholic churches and schools across the Philippines were bathed in red light on the evening of November 28 to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians around the world, as part of the so-called Red Wednesday campaign initiated by Aid to the Church in Need.
 
In Manila, Father Teresito ‘Chito’ Soganub, who had previously been held hostage by Islamic militants in Marawi, Mindanao, led people in paying tribute to Christian martyrs.
 
In his homily, the priest said he was passionately supportive of the event because of his experience as a hostage.
 
Victims of persecution such as himself cried from their hearts and souls as well as their eyes.
 
“You cannot do anything except pray,” he added.
 
He said that in the midst of a difficult situation, with the bullets flying around, was difficult to see the presence of God.
 
The priest added that he even tried to bargain with God during his near 116-day captivity from May 23 to 26 September 2017.
 
“I prayed hoping the Lord will grant my prayer,” the priest said.
 
Father Soganub felt that he had failed when he was not freed, but later realised he was wrong to have reacted in that way.
 
“I could not see the presence of God because fear swallowed me, because imminent death and the trauma covered my eyes not to see the wonders of God and his protection,” Father Soganub said.
 
Data provided by Aid to the Church in Need noted that more than 90,000 Christians were murdered worldwide in 2016, equivalent to one every six minutes.
 
The group noted that many people in the Philippines remain unaware of how difficult it is to practice the Christian faith in some Muslim-majority areas of the island of Mindanao.
 
The Red Wednesday event sought to improve awareness among Filipino Christians of such issues.
 
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines invited all churches and diocesan shrines across the country to illuminate their façades in red, the colour of martyrdom.

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