Basilan bishop’s request: Keep praying for Mindanao

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ISABELA de Basilan, March 5, 2015—A Catholic prelate based in Mindanao has reiterated the importance of imploring God’s help amid the ongoing crisis in Southern Philippines, inviting everyone irrespective of religion to continue praying for lasting peace and order in the region.

Bishop Martin S. Jumoad of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan (Photo: CBCPNews)

More prayers

“Be more prayerful,” Bishop Martin S. Jumoad of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan said in a public appeal he made recently over Church-run Radyo Veritas.

“So I call on all people regardless of faith affiliations to be more prayerful … particularly for Catholics to pray more and to fast more, and to do almsgiving this Lent. Pray for peace and harmony in Mindanao … Perform fasting and almsgiving in order that our thoughts will be purified,” he added.

According to him, praying works wonders because through it the Holy Spirit can guide the decisions and actions of the faithful.

Back to normal

Meanwhile, the bishop shared the situation in Basilan is “back to normal” after the bombing incident on Saturday.

“That’s life. We should not allow fear of the incident to control our lives. Life has to go on. We just have to be vigilant,” he said.

The prelate condemned the attack earlier, and urged authorities to look into the incident which he dubbed the “work of evil people.”

Zero casualty

The blast, believed to be consistent with the effect of an improvised explosive device (IED), took place on Feb. 28 at 9:30 p.m. just outside St. Peter Catholic Church on Quezon Boulevard, Barangay Maganda, Lamitan City, causing minor damage to its main gate.

No casualties have been reported.

Priest’s testimony

In an earlier CBCP News post, St. Peter Parish Priest, Fr. Pascual Benitez, 40, said the bomb was planted right on the church’s main gate.

He shared he had barely returned from dinner outside and was already watching television inside the convent when the bomb exploded.

“So I was maybe the target because the bomb was placed on the gate which I used when I went out of the convent,” Benitez added.

First time

The priest has been serving as St. Peter’s chief pastor for three years now “and it’s the first time that the church is the object of a bomb attack under my term.”

In 2010, local authorities thwarted a planned bomb attack when they found and dismantled an IED a few meters away from the church.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but investigators recovered parts of a cell phone that they believe detonated the device. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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