I feel the profound heartbreak of knowing that St Mary's Cathedral, Marawi (the hub of Marawi Prelature for so long) has been burned by ISIS-inspired terrorists. This occurred on the eve of the Fiesta -"Our Lady Help of Christians"- The Vicar General of Marawi, Fr Chito Suganob and and other Catholics were abducted during the last Novena Mass yesterday afternoon. A picture of them, still alive, was posted on Facebook this morning by the captives. Nearby Dansalan College United Church of Christ) was also burned and Christian staff taken as captives. We are praying that the abductors will not kill any of them.
It is also worrisome that President Duterte has declared Martial Law in Mindanao. Those of us involved in Muslim-Christian Dialogue are tempted to feel as if all the efforts since Bishop Benny Tudtud to the present have been razed to the ground in the attack. It is truly heart-breaking.
However, little signs of hope are happening on Facebook and by SMS texts, where Christian and Muslim friends are expressing real concern for one another, for Marawi, for the future of PEACE in Mindanao and are offering messages of solidarity and support to one another. It is a time of deep grief - but at least, Muslims and Christians of goodwill are grieving together.
The effects are not just felt in Mindanao. Imam Alibasher Linog, a long time partner in Interfaith Dialogue is staying here with us tonight in Singalong. He was planning to stay tonight in a predominantly Muslim part of Quiapo, Manila. However, when he got there, the place was surrounded by military, so, out of fear for his safety, he asked to stay here with us. It is a tense time for everyone. I am asking the intercession of Charles de Foucauld and also asking Columban Frs. Des Hartford and Rufus Halley (whom I believe are in heaven) to pray for us and for St. Patrick (who knows what it was to be kidnapped) to pray for Fr. Chito Suganob and the other hostages. Please join us in praying for the hostages, for peace in Marawi and for the Philippines at this time.
Columban Fr. Paul Glynn