Catholic school network ends 14 days of prayer for Marawi

Catholic school network ends 14 days of prayer for Marawi
Catholic elementary students have community singing in solidarity with the International Eucharistic Congress in January 2016. FR. REX ANDREW ALARCON

MANILA – As a response to the crisis in Marawi which began in late May of this year, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines – National Advocacy Commission (CEAP-NAC) initiated 14 days of prayer, “a non-violence means to achieving peace”, ending today, July 31.

From July 17 to 31, Catholic schools in the country were encouraged to simultaneously observe “Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: 14 Days of Prayer and Silence, Peace Conversations and Acts of Charity, A Threefold Path to Peace” that ended with a Eucharistic celebration for “peace and welfare of [those] in Marawi”.

“We are certainly disturbed by the war in Marawi, the proposals to revive Death Penalty and other social concerns. Our Christian Faith calls us not simply to be spectators, but to be actors and protagonists of the present moment,” said NAC chairperson Fr. Rex Andrew Alarcon in a letter to CEAP member-schools.

Catholic schools’ response

According to the priest, the 14 days of prayer is an initiative and a response to the question “What are we doing as Catholic schools and as an organization?”

“These are not immediate solutions, but they yield more lasting results,” he explained.

The said project consisted of prayer and silence, education, and action. Since July 17, the Prayer of St. Francis: ‘Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace’ was prayed by school communities during morning rituals, inside the classroom and other moments of prayer.

At least two schools also hosted “Peace Talks and Conversations regarding Mindanao and the Muslim perspective” during the last two weeks. These involved discussions regarding the crisis in Marawi and other social issues. “These talks must lead to the conviction that Peace is everybody’s mission,” reads a document on the said initiative, which also discussed how the “advocacy for life should be promoted, in the wake of the proposals of the revival of the Death Penalty”.

The standard of Jesus

Guiding “children [to] learn what they live”, the Prayer of St. Francis was chosen because it promotes the values of the Gospel and “the path of virtue, i.e., to overcome a bad habit, one must practice a good habit.” The prayer also “takes on the standard of Jesus”.

The school communities were also encouraged to do “concrete acts of peace” like sharing the Prayer for Peace on social media, a collection for Marawi, and observance of the corporal works of mercy.”

According to the priest, the CEAP-NAC also hopes to fight “the early radicalization of the young,” which has become a growing global concern.

“Advocacy in CEAP proceeds from our schools’ commitment to evangelization,” CEAP president Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. said. “Advocacy in season and out of season is integral to the school that brings the light of the Gospel to our world.” CBCPNews