MANILA, July 8, 2015— A Catholic archbishop has called on his fellow clergymen and the religious to make the cries of the poor central to their prayers and not just seek band aid solutions to poverty.
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, the country’s second largest archdiocese, said churchmen must take a stand on issues that oppress the poor the same way Blessed Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Redemptorist Fr. Rudy Romano did.
“I call upon the whole archdiocese to remember these two modern martyrs. Above all, I pray that we would be as brave as Jesus, Blessed Oscar, and Fr. Rudy. May we also go beyond palliative approaches in helping the poor,” Palma said.
The archbishop made the statement in a letter inviting Cebu’s clergy, religious and seminarians to join a tribute for Romano who disappeared three decades ago.
Ceremonies will be held on July 11, marking the 30th anniversary of the abduction of the priest, whose fate remains a mystery.
A memorial service will be held at 9:00 a.m. at the site where Romano was abducted on Katipunan corner Cabarrubias streets in Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City.
A concelebrated Mass will also be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Redemptorist Church, followed by a candle-lighting ceremony.
Romano was abducted by suspected military men on July 11, 1985.
Palma, a former president of the CBCP, also compared Romano to Blessed Romero, a martyr and an outspoken champion of the poor who opposed, at great personal risk, the tyrannical repression in El Salvador.
He said Romero, who was killed by the military while celebrating Mass because of his advocacies, did not just help the poor with “palliatives” but also experienced the “unjust structures used by the oppressors to exploit the poor”.
In a similar though different way, he said Romano also went beyond short-term responses to the plight of the poor.
The priest, he added, was particularly vocal and active with exploited workers, slum dwellers, landless peasants, and other sectors of society “oppressed by unjust structures”.
“Together with them, may we also confront the structures that keep the poor exploited and oppressed,” Palma said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)