We have spent the last forty days together praying for courage not to become indifferent to the growing culture of death and violence that plagues our country today. This atmosphere that breeds this lack of respect for life we can see on many fronts.
In our communities where there are suspected drug addicts or pushers, we have witnessed how those who are nameless and powerless and poor are murdered and their families silenced by fear. In Marawi, where an official declaration of the end of hostilities has been issued, we are witness to how fear of reprisals and vengeance continues to gnaw at the hearts of those who have been displaced. In social media, where bashing and name-calling have become a sport, we have witnessed how we have been deprived of the truth and how we are being divided along the lines of our political affiliations rather than by our love of country. In the conduct of our government’s affairs, where those who perform the role of fiscalizers are threatened with impeachment or imprisonment, we are witness to the weakening of the structures of governance.
Tasked by the Church to bring the Gospel through our ministry of education, we cannot remain unmoved when the supports to this Gospel of life that we preach are threatened by the ecology we inhabit. As a Lasallian community, we hear in these events a call for us to become pro-active and be co-responsible with other Filipinos. As we grope together to find answers and to understand the kind of action we must take, I enjoin you to continue to build solidarity with the growing number of Filipinos who refuse to surrender their human right to life and a life-giving environment. Let us again assert our right to live in a humane society by advocating STOP THE KILLINGS! START THE HEALING.
On 5 November 2017, designated by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as Heal Our Land Sunday, I ask our brothers and partners in Luzon, to take part in the mass at the EDSA Shrine at 3 pm followed by a program at the People Power Monument. We ask our brothers and partners in the Visayas and Mindanao to mirror these same efforts on November 5 by joining similar networks whose values and actions align with ours.
As Lasallian communities, I ask that we take part in the 33-days of prayer and discernment that will begin with Heal Our Land Sunday. I wish for us to be involved in actions that raise awareness on the issue of human rights; that build solidarity with other like-minded groups; that engage us in formative actions to safeguard our democracy; and that bring relief or support those affected by acts of violence. In particular, let us be sure to engage the young people whom we care for in our ministries. Let us nurture in them the capacity to love our country and lead her with compassion. May our actions deepen our experience of God whose love offers life.
Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC
Auxiliary Visitor for Philippines, LEAD