STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte, August 9, 2013 —Religious private catholic schools managed by the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines in Davao del Norte province have strongly condemned the spate of bombings that recently plagued some cities and towns in Mindanao and prayed for lasting peace as they celebrated the feast day of St. Dominic on August 8.
“We join the voice of peace advocates in strongly condemning the senseless, barbarian act of bombings in some parts of Mindanao which claimed the lives of innocent people and injured many civilians as this despicable act of terror continues to propagate fear and apparently damaged the peace efforts in the whole island,” said Sr. Ma. Evelyn M. Oqueza, OP, Regional Superior of the Congregations of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines.
A commemorative rite in honor of St. Dominic de Guzman—founder of the Dominican order— was held simultaneously on August 8 at Maryknoll High School of Sto. Tomas and Maryknoll High School of Maniki, Inc. which was participated in by its school officials, teachers, students and other members of its academic community.
As they offered prayers, participants also demanded justice for the innocent victims of the spate of bombings in Mindanao. They also called for a permanent and lasting peace which was followed by a symbolic releasing of doves.
Sr. Ma. Evelyn M. Oqueza, OP challenged the youth of today’s generation to build a culture of peace and develop a community where one’s beliefs, principles, culture are respected. She urged the youth to act conscientiously, adding that students are prone to internalizing the stereotypes taught by their teachers, leaders, parents, friends and the media and that most of them see violence as the only viable option to resolve the conflict they were born into.
“If the school has done nothing to change this present reality, there is little hope that future generations will have the motivation or skills to transform their societies into safe, secure and productive environments,” Oqueza stressed.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Emerson Delos Reyes, DACET Schools Superintendent, reminded the youth to follow and exemplify the virtues of St. Dominic de Guzman such as the love for prayer and study. He said that through constant prayer one will be able to surpass the “temptations” of doing wrongful acts and discern whether such act merits good or bad results.
Delos Reyes encouraged the youth to organize and support peace-building efforts to promote harmony, love, and peace within the school and of their own communities.
“Peace-building efforts are central to the issue in obtaining peace in Mindanao and for that, we would like to do our share and contribute something for this goal that each one of us longed for,” Delos Reyes said. (Mart Sambalud)