MANILA (UCAN): The Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the violence-plagued southern Philippine town of Jolo reopened on July 16, nearly six months after a fatal January 27 bombing attack (Sunday Examiner, February 10). Five soldiers were among those killed in the twin explosions that rocked the cathedral which also caused serious damage to the structure which was later repaired with help from the charity, Aid to the Church in Need.
Hundreds of people gathered for the reconsecration on the day Christians in the predominantly Muslim town mark the feast of its patron.
Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, and Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, retired bishop of southern Cotabato, led bishops and priests in the celebration of the Eucharist.
The bombing of the cathedral was one of the deadliest attacks in the southern Philippines and occurred despite an earlier declaration of martial law in the region. Supporters of the terrorist organisation Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
The country’s Catholic bishops condemned the “act of terrorism” and called on Christians to join hands with all peace-loving Muslims to combat violent extremism.
Authorities said the attack was believed to be in retaliation for the death of a leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group last year.