EJK victims’ families reminded this Christmas: ‘You’re not alone’

EJK victims’ families reminded this Christmas: ‘You’re not alone’

The final meeting of volunteers and committees for the Diocese of Novaliches’ gathering of EJK victims’ families on Dec. 9, 2017 at the Sacred Heart Village Covered Basketball Court of Lagro, Quezon City. Facilitating the meeting was Assistant to the Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Karl Comiling who said that the gathering is meant to assure bereaved families of the diocese’s all out support for their needs. MINNIE AGDEPPA

QUEZON City – For the first time, the Diocese of Novaliches gathered on Dec. 9 the bereaved families of extra judicial killing (EJK) victims to remind them of one important message this Christmas: you are not alone.

Some 178 families from the diocese’s six established Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (CBDRP) Centers met at the Sacred Heart Village Covered Basketball Court in Lagro in this city for a day with Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias that kicked off with a medical mission, a shared lunch, fun, games, and mascots.

“First of all, the gathering intends to reassure the families left behind by EJK victims that they are not alone because the diocese is here for them and is journeying with them towards their healing,” said Assistant to the Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Karl Comiling in Filipino in a short interview during the Diocesan Theological Pastoral Congress held in the Shrine of St. Paul, North Fairview on Nov. 18.

Not political

While the gathering had “no political implications,” it aimed to assure the orphans, widows, and grieving families affected by EJKs that the diocese “is with them in their healing and recovery process,” he added.

According to Comiling, the Christmas party’s second objective was to assure the public that the Catholic Church hierarchy has not forgotten the needs of those left behind.

“….We would like the public know that the Catholic Church is undertaking concrete steps in addressing the needs of the orphans, widows, and families created by this EJKs,” he explained.

The event was also an opportunity for Tobias to welcome 574 orphans from 169 families from all over the diocese to his parish, the Visitation of Our Lady Parish in the Sacred Heart Village.

‘To embrace’

The Diocese of Novaliches started the documentation of EJK cases in its parishes early in 2017 through the aid of several volunteers trained for the process.

The diocese was able to identify six parishes that were heavily affected by EJKs:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Camarin, C.C.;
  • Holy Cross Parish, Amparo, C.C.;
  • Sto. Niñ Parish, Bagong Silang, C.C.;
  • Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Sta. Monica, Q.C.;
  • San Antonio De Padua Parish, Batasan Hills, Q.C.;
  • Divine Savior Parish, North Fairview, Q.C.; and
  • Ascension of Our Lord Parish, Lagro, Q.C.

Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr. explained during the diocese’s Nov. 29 meeting with Pax Christi International that the said parishes were then designated as the CBDRP Centers of the diocese.

He also said that the Dec. 9 gathering is part of the Diocesan CBDRP, entitled Abot-Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago, as a testament to its acronym AKAP which means “to embrace” in Filipino–to embrace the needy, the poor, and the lost of the diocese. CBCPNews