CBCP urges faithful to pray for ICRC workers

MANILA, Philippines—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged all Filipinos Wednesday to pray for the safe release of three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu more than two months ago.

“We exhort our Filipino brothers and sisters to reach out to both kidnappers and their hostages with prayers. Let it be a whole nation praying that all may experience true freedom and security. May healing and forgiveness take place, hostilities cease and peace prevail,” said CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in a statement.

Lagdameo, who is also archbishop of Iloilo, issued the statement as CBCP president on Wednesday afternoon. It is to be read in churches nationwide starting on Sunday.

Filipino Mary-Jean Lacaba, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Swiss Andreas Notter are being held captives by the al-Qaeda-linked group since they were snatched in Sulu on January 15.

“We join people of good will in condemning these kidnappings, such as those that recently happened in Jolo, Zamboanga and Ipil, even as we sympathize with the victims and their families and beg the Lord to touch the hearts of the kidnappers,” the CBCP statement added.

The CBCP appealed to both the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers and the government negotiators “to use every peaceful means to address through peaceful process whatever is at the root of this ongoing problem of kidnapping in order that there may be peace in Jolo, in Mindanao and the whole country.”

“We appeal to all groups of kidnappers in the name of our common humanity and in the name of the One Merciful and Just God whom we worship to grant freedom to their captives,” it added.

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI aired his concern for the hostages and their families and appealed that “humanitarian feeling and reason might have the upper hand over violence and intimidation.”

Dona Pazzibugan, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm  Comments Off on CBCP urges faithful to pray for ICRC workers  
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