COLOR IT RED FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS


The Seminary community joined the Red Wednesday Celebration at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral last November 22, 2017, Feast of St. Cecilia, in communion with the request of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to mark this day as a day of commemoration and prayer for the Christians suffering persecution all throughout the world.   There was a solemn celebration of the Eucharist in honor of St. Cecilia and all persecuted Christians presided over by His Excellency, Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria Tirona OCD D.D., Archbishop of Caceres.   In his homily, he said that the first intervention of God for man’s salvation was because of the persecution, suffering and slavery experienced by His chosen people.   “He did not just free the persecuted people but also made a covenant with them.”   He further said, “This is just a foretaste of the true and most wonderful blessing God has in store for Man: the true liberation offered by Christ, the Son of God.”   Quoting the Beatitudes, Archbishop Tirona added, “Blessed are you when they are persecuting you in the name of Christ for you will inherit the kingdom of God. Christians were persecuted sporadically even during the time of Nero. Saints Peter and Paul both suffered persecution and death.”   Shifting the focus on the present-day situation, he said, “Last 2016, around 90, 000 Christians were killed because of their faith.”   He turned his attention to the people saying, “We, here in the Philippines, being a predominantly Christian country, don’t suffer much persecution compared to our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. However, we must not be blind to their needs. We belong to a global family and we should pray for and aspire to help those who are persecuted and help eradicate persecution.”   At the end of his homily, he reminded us of the challenge of Christian discipleship, “If you want to follow me, take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)   The Red Wednesday Campaign is an event advocated by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) which was first held in United Kingdom. This year, the Philippines joins the campaign for the first time as endorsed by the CBCP during its Permanent Council Meeting last March 13, 2017.       by: SEM. RYAN ZAFE, PRE-THEOLOGY