Cardinal Tagle calls for tolling of bells amid Fr Ventura's death

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called for the tolling of church bells in the Archdiocese of Manila at 8 pm every evening, to remember slain Cagayan priest Father Mark Ventura and other victims of killings.

In a letter released on Wednesday, May 2, but signed on Monday, April 30, Tagle referred to the death of Ventura, and said that "the poor, needy, helpless, and vulnerable are the usual casualties" of killings like this.

Ventura, 37, was shot dead by riding-in-tandem killers last Sunday, April 29, after saying Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan. He was the second priest to be murdered in the Philippines in a span of 4 months. 

Tagle added in his letter to priests: "Last September 8, 2017, I issued an appeal for the tolling of our church bells in the Archdiocese of Manila every evening at 8 pm in remembrance of the dead. I am asking you to continue the practice and to invite our communities to pause, remember, and pray."

The Archdiocese of Manila covers the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasay, San Juan, and Mandaluyong in the Philippines' National Capital Region. 

Tagle continued: "The bells beckon us to remember the dead, never to forget them, and to ask God to remember them. The bells haunt the perpetrators of violence and killing to remember their victims, never to forget them."

"The bells urge us to commit to actions of truth, justice, love, and respect for God's gift of human life and dignity. The bells beg us to transform the mourning of our people into hope and peace," added the cardinal, who had earlier condemned Ventura's murder. 

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines had also appealed to authorities "to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime." –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at