PNP chaplain to faithful: Beware of fake priests

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Children at the Barangka Municipal Cemetery in Marikina City spend this year’s Halloween, the night before All Saints’ Day, the Christian way: praying for their faithful departed. (Photo: Maria Tan)

QUEZON City, Nov. 1, 2015 – A priest attached to the Philippine National Police (PNP) has urged Filipinos to beware of dubious characters they will see offering “priestly services” for cash during “Undas,” especially in cemeteries.

“View a ‘priest’ who insists on being paid with suspicion. Never give him money. To be sure, coordinate with officials or representatives of the parish or diocese that has jurisdiction over the cemetery,” said Fr. Jason D. Ortizo, base Catholic chaplain of Camp Rafael Crame, in an interview.

Full alert

Himself an active personnel with the rank of PSupt, the priest expressed hope that lawless elements will stop exploiting a supposedly holy occasion for their vested interest by taking advantage of others.

“It is so sad these people make money out of the dead,” lamented Ortizo.

According to the priest-cop from Southern Leyte, the whole Philippine National Police (PNP) is now on full alert in anticipation of the surge in petty crimes and commotions during the season.

“Our Chief PNP is currently making the rounds of cemeteries and bus terminals,” shared Ortizo.

Focus on praying

Oct. 31, Nov. 1, and 2—“Halloween, All Saints’ Day,” and “All Souls’ Day, respectively”—are days Catholics nationwide traditionally spend visiting departed family members, relatives, friends, and even acquaintances in cemeteries to pray for their souls.

However, some use the work-free season as an excuse to hold activities that are totally unrelated to “Undas” like drinking alcohol and playing cards, among others especially in public cemeteries .

“Don’t forget to pray for the faithful departed. Avoid drinking and gambling in cemeteries,” Ortizo added. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)



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