MANILA, Dec. 22, 2013—A Mindanao prelate called on the faithful to bear in mind three major concerns that call for prayers and action as they prepare to celebrate Christmas and “invoke the coming of the Prince of Peace in our hearts and homes.”
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, in a Christmas message cited disaster relief, peace in Mindanao and care for the environment, as three major challenges that call for prayers and common action from the people.
But these, he said can “be also the three gifts that we, like the Magi, can bring to the Child in the manger, and receive his response of Emmanuel: ‘God-is-with-us’.”
Relief and Rehab mission
Ledesma mentioned as a first challenge the relief and rehabilitation mission Cagayan de Oro volunteers are doing in Leyte and other places devastated by typhoon Yolanda.
Commending the multi-sectoral teams of volunteers from CDO, Ledesma said it is now their time to give back noting that the diocese also suffered the same tragedy when typhoon Sendong devastated Cagayan de Oro in December 2011.
“Even as we observe the second anniversary of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, it is now our time to contribute whatever resources we have for the upliftment of the disaster-stricken communities in the Visayas,” he said.
Mindanao peace process
Ledesma also cited the ongoing peace process in Mindanao which is vital in achieving peace in the region and expressed hope and prayers for the completion of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
He said that “despite the armed crisis in Zamboanga City [that happened] a few months ago, the majority of peace-loving Christian, Muslim, and lumad communities have time and again manifested their aspirations for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Ledesma noted the importance of continuing “to engage in inter-religious dialogue and understanding” and to show respect and uphold the dignity of every person “regardless of creed or culture.”
“On another front, we also pray that the ceasefire observed by the NPA and government forces be extended indefinitely, and that peace negotiations be resumed – for the greater common good of one developing nation,” he said.
Preservation of the environment
The archbishop mentioned as a third major concern the protection and conservation of environment especially the river basin of Cagayan de Oro, emphasizing that “every tributary in the city and the province should have its watershed protected.”
He stressed the need for the province to adopt Disaster risk reduction practices to prevent another ‘Sendong’ from happening.
Noting that the fury of super-Typhoon Yolanda is indicative of the adverse effects of Climate Change, Ledesma said “short-term as well as long-term measures [can be adopted] to mitigate the dire effects of Climate Change.”
“But the time for action is now,” he stressed. (CBCPNews)