MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church will hold a huge procession against extrajudicial killings on November 5, a Sunday, along the historic EDSA highway, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said.
In a statement, Villegas said the Catholic Church is setting aside November 5 as "Lord, Heal Our Land" Sunday.
The November 5 event will start a 33-day period for the Catholic Church's "Start the Healing" campaign.
The event will start with a Mass at EDSA Shrine at 3 pm, "the hour of Divine Mercy."
"After the Mass, the image of Our Lady of Fatima that was brought by devotees to EDSA in the 1986 People Power revolt will be brought in a candlelight procession to the People Power monument a kilometer away from the EDSA Shrine," Villegas said in a statement.
"We believe that our national healing, which only the Lord can grant, will come to us through the hands of His mother," he added.
EDSA is the site of the historic 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Villegas is the protégé of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who helped mount the EDSA Revolution.
Led by Villegas and other bishops, the Catholic Church is one of the strongest voices against drug-related killings under Duterte. Recently, Villegas said police have sought the Catholic Church's protection to testify on extrajudicial killings.
Read Archbishop Villegas' full statement below:
Our Catholic bishops in the Philippines appealed for a season of mourning and prayers for the dead from September 23 until November 1 this year, by daily rosary, church bell ringing, and candle lighting at 8 o'clock each night for the victims of the spreading culture of killings. The whole message of this 40-day period was "Stop the Killings."
I am inviting you and the communities with you to participate in the second phase of this period of praying for the victims of extrajudicial killings. We will start on November 5 until December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
This 33-day period will prepare us to make our act of consecration to the Immaculate Mother. We will call this 33-day period as the time to "Start the Healing."
Within this 33-day period, we are requested to pray the rosary and receive Holy Communion, if possible every day, for the healing of our bleeding nation and for the peace of the souls of all those killed.
To launch this period of prayer for national healing, I invite you to attend the Mass at the EDSA Shrine on November 5, 2017 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon the hour of Divine Mercy.
We are setting aside November 5 as the "Lord Heal our Land Sunday."
After the Mass, the image of Our Lady of Fatima that was brought by devotees to EDSA in the 1986 People Power revolt will be brought in a candlelight procession to the People Power monument a kilometer away from the EDSA Shrine. We believe that our national healing, which only the Lord can grant, will come to us through the hands of His mother.
We are inviting the men and women in consecrated life, the youth and their teachers, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the persons with disability, the laborers and the entrepreneurs, the police and the military, the majority and minority political parties, in other words EVERYBODY, to join this observance of the "Lord Heal our Land Sunday."
We are appealing to our brother priests to hold "Lord Heal our Land Sunday Masses" in the provinces too for the sake of those who cannot go to the EDSA Shrine that day.
In asking the Lord to heal our land, we will pray to Him together because we are God's children wherever we may be.
Please remember the date, November 5, and the time, 3 pm, and the place, the EDSA Shrine, for our "Lord Heal our Land Sunday."
If then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14).
From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, October 12, 2017, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima,
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.