Jolo cathedral hold first Mass since attacks
Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, leads the reconsecration of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, July 16, nearly six months after the bomb attacks that claimed 20 lives. CBCPNEWS
By Roy Lagarde
July 16, 2019
The Jolo cathedral was reopened Tuesday, nearly six months after the twin bomb attacks that killed 20 people and scores injured.
Hundreds of people gathered for the reconsecration of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which also marked the feast of their patroness, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Mass was led by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, along with retired Cardinal Orlando Quevedo and several other bishops and priests.
Also in attendance were Archbishops Romulo Valles of Davao, Angelito Lampon of Cotabato, and Romulo Dela Cruz of Zamboanga, and Bishop Edwin Dela Peña of Marawi.
Authorities said the blasts killed 15 civilians and five soldiers during the attack on the southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of Islamic militants.
The first explosion went off inside the church while a Mass on ongoing and was followed by a second blast outside the compound.
ISIS via its Amaq propaganda website claimed responsibility for the Jan. 27 attack.
The initial blast caused severe damage to the cathedral. Costly repairs were funded by the Aid to the Church in Need, a Vatican-recognized foundation, and other organizations.
The Jolo blasts was said to be one of the deadliest bomb attacks in the insurgency-plagued Mindanao region in years despite recent steps toward peace.
The violence came six days after a referendum on expanded autonomy for the Muslim region. The Jolo island, however, voted against being part of the new autonomous government.