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Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion -

SEPTEM­BER 8, 2017 saw Ba­colod cel­e­brate its 4th year of holding the Grand Feast. Nearly 2,000 Catholic and some evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians joined the Mass in honor of the birth­day of our Blessed Mother Mary, the 100th an­niver­sary of the Fa­tima ap­pari­tions in Por­tu­gal, and the 12th an­niver­sary of the of the Light of Je­sus Fam­ily-Ba­colod.

The main cel­e­brant was Bishop Pa­tri­cio Bu­zon, who in so­cial me­dia posts was beam­ing with pride as the thou­sands of Ne­grenses, young, mid­dle-aged, and se­nior ci­ti­zens ex­pressed their love for Holy Mother Church and every­one’s Manong, none other than our Lord and Sav­ior Je­sus Christ. (see He­brews 2:11 and Ro­mans 8:29).

These verses speak of Je­sus as the first­born among many broth­ers and sis­ters. It was a cel­e­bra­tion of vic­tory, and the youth faith­ful com­prised a huge num­ber. Many in­vited fam­ily mem­bers, friends, and class­mates. It was easy to spot the “cap­tured” crowd to speak, as the LoJ ser­vants wore white T-shirts em­bla­zoned with the slo­gan Awaken.

The rest were in civvies. Every­one who took part ex­pe­ri­enced love for one an­other, ex­pressed in hugs all over the place, the smiles, jokes, and ban­ter, as peo­ple en­joyed each other’s company. Feast­ers were in­tro­duced to their fam­i­lies. Not­with­stand­ing the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Isis, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, and the Maute group, Mus­lims as­sert that Is­lam is a re­li­gion of peace.

As Chris­tians, how­ever, we hold that our faith is a re­li­gion of love. But Bishop Bu­zon in­jected in his homily the sad news. He an­nounced dur­ing the Grand Feast that the four Ne­grense dio­ce­ses will come out with a joint state­ment ex­press­ing their con­cerns on EJKs (ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings).

Car­di­nal Luis An­to­nio Ta­gle of Manila said that it is with “pain and hor­ror” that the coun­try con­tin­ues to get daily news of killings, mostly vic­tim­iz­ing sus­pected drug push­ers and users. “We can­not allow the de­struc­tion of lives to be­come nor­mal.

We can­not gov­ern the na­tion by killings, we can­not fos­ter a hu­mane and de­cent Filipino cul­ture by killing.” The web­site CBCPNews re­ported that the church of­fi­cial has re­peat­edly ex­pressed con­cern over the spate of killings in the coun­try and even led a mul­ti­sec­toral di­a­log to come up with a united re­sponse to the il­le­gal drugs prob­lem.

Held on Au­gust 25, the di­a­logue gath­ered to­gether some bish­ops, gov­ern­ment and po­lice au­thor­i­ties, jour­nal­ists, and youth lead­ers. “These di­a­log and en­coun­ters have pro­vided venues for telling and lis­ten­ing to hu­man sto­ries and for es­tab­lish­ing part­ner­ship with var­i­ous sec­tors of so­ci­ety and gov­ern­ment,” said Car­di­nal Ta­gle.

I agree. As edi­tor-in-chief of the weekly The Feast Ba­colod Bul­letin, I got to know the strug­gles of teens and other mil­len­ni­als, street kids, moth­ers and pro­fes­sion­als, and inmates at the Metro Ba­colod Dis­trict Jail-Spe­cial In­ten­sive Care Area (MBDJ-Sica).

Many shared how they yearn for the love of their fam­i­lies. May the joys and Chris­tian love of neigh­bors and of God not just among the Feast­ers but in ev­ery com­mu­nity all over the coun­try. (bq­sanc@ya­hoo.com)

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