MANILA, Jan. 21, 2014—In a touching display of spiritual solidarity, leaders of the country’s major religious denominations joined together at the Malacañan Palace grounds to pray for the well-being of the nation, months after the catastrophes that struck the country late last year.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, representing the Philippines’ Catholic majority, prayed for the “continuous guidance of the Lord” in the face of these natural and man-made calamities.
Year 2013 marked a chapter in history for the series of mishaps that befell and stunned the country.
The military standoff in Zamboanga, the earthquake in Bohol and parts of Cebu, and the supertyphoon that devastated Eastern Visayas and Panay, killed thousands and left others homeless, apart from its economic and infrastructural costs.
Citing a verse from the New Testament, Tagle said that the Filipino faithful entrust themselves completely to the “blessed hands of God”.
Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene D. Almendras said that the interfaith prayer gathering was planned following the tragedy of Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).
But “Isang Bansa, Isang Panalangin” (One Nation in Prayer) could not push through as originally planned because of the constraints imposed by the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts on the part of the government officials in the aftermath of the said calamities, Almendras said.
Besides the cardinal, heads of other denominations attended the event: Isaias Samson of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Zenaida Pawid of the Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Bishop Jonel Milan of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, and Police Superintendent Imam Ebra Moxsir of the Imam Council of the Philippines.
Also present were President Benigno S. Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Franklin Drilon, cabinet secretaries, other top government officials, and survivors of the disasters in Zamboanga, Bohol, and Leyte. (Raymond A. Sebastián)