Lord, heal our land PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00

The annual Mindanao Week of Peace with a “Solidarity Prayer” reeled off last November 28 at Paseo del Mar. Organized by the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), it was attended by different sectors of the society with Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar spearheading the city government. “Lord, Heal Our Land” is the theme of the  celebration.

This year’s event deviated from the celebration’s usually massively-participated opening parade because of persisting adverse repercussions of the Sept. 9 MNLF attack, ISP lead convenor Fr. Angel Calvo,CMF said. “This year’s 19th annual Week of Peace celebration on November 28 – December 5, 2013 comes with extraordinary relevance, urgency and meaningfulness. The people of our beloved City of Zamboanga are still gripped in the emotional and social trauma, anger and disbelief brought about by the September 9, 2013 attack on our city by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels,” ISP said in a statement released earlier.

The peace rally aims to motivate government agencies and other sectors to hasten all efforts to bring back normality in the city. The challenge to peace and security has “become as colossal as it is now, though far from being insurmountable. For the truly courageous of heart, this challenge but presents an opportunity to start a new beginning and journey for a new Zamboanga Hermosa,” ISP said.

The Zamboanga-Basilan integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA), an NGO which Fr. Calvo heads, earlier organized several local civil society groups into a task force called RE-UNIDOS to harmonize their efforts to assist victims of the conflict. ISP in its statement had urged government “to immediately rehabilitate the thousands of destituted, displaced and generally neglected families especially those whose houses were burned (and) for all sectors of local society involved in the rehabilitation and healing of affected residents and their communities to harmonize their efforts to achieve efficiency and speed.”

Aside from the “Solidarity Prayer”, the Week’s celebration included a “8th Anniversary Celebration of National Sama Badjao Movement” (Nov. 28), “Youth Peace Assembly” (Nov. 29), “Historical Journey to Mariki” (Nov. 30), “In solidarity ‘ - Journey of Prayers and Healing” to Taluksangay and “Peace Forum: Peace in Mindanao” (Dec. 2), celebrations in schools and barangays (Dec. 3) and culminating with “Regatta de Paz” and “Cultural Peace Festival” (Dec. 4).

ISP urges urge schools, communities and organizations to initiate and conduct their own Week of Peace activities to stimulate and sustain our multi-track journeys to peace and security. This year’s celebration shed much-needed light on the indispensability of peace, to grant the strength to triumph Zamboanga City over the crisis and for God to hear our prayers for peace.

By Dante Corteza

Psalm 29:11. “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”