(A day of prayer for persecuted Christians)
Archbishop Romulo G. Valles D. D. delivered his homily during a special day of prayer for all persecuted Christians all over the world last November 22, 2017, 5:30 p.m. at San Pedro Cathedral. The Archbishop stressed out few examples of many persecutions all over the world, “In Nigeria, 80% of all acts of religious discrimination and persecutions to all Christians are happening. In Nigeria, an extremist group was waging campaign against government. Christians and faith groups killing men and kidnapping women. In Syria, an 80 year old Jesuit, too old to escape, he would ring the church bells to give his people hope, and to remind them that Christ is present. He was shot dead.”
Abp. Valles wondered that even at the height of our civilization, religious freedom and belief are still questionable, “as long as this persecution happens, the agony of the cross continues. A dismal failure to see the gift of the cross and the love of God shown through Christ,” he said.
He emphasized also that next year, in the Middle East there would be Catholic villages that would be wiped out, thus he asked for two things from the people:
- Prayers (Pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted)
- A little help (in all forms example: money, goods etc. ‘little if collected would be big enough’)
Thus, in the end, he stressed out the Gospel about the ten virgins who carry lamps with them to meet their groom, “so we pray that in this difficult situation there would be enough oil in their lamps to keep the light of their faith burning. Enough oil to sustain their faith.” And he remembered a quote from St. Pope John Paul II about martyrdom “the gift of martyrdom is given to a few, the call to holiness is a call for all.”
Lastly, he asks that we may have enough oil for our faith to face the daily grind of life, the daily challenges that might weaken our faith.