By Mary Judaline Partlow
DUMAGUETE CITY – Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes has called on the Catholic faithful on Ash Wednesday to begin their Lenten journey with prayers and fasting for peaceful elections in the country and an end to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Cortes said his call is also in response to Pope Francis’ call to dedicate Ash Wednesday for this particular intention.
“I have been asking the faithful in my masses in the different parishes in Siquijor that we all pray for the successful peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and for the end of the war itself,” Cortes said.
The prelate further said the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started last February 24, should not be “allowed to escalate and lead to a possible world war, God forbid.”
“Our hearts go to the families of those who have died and the already more than half a million Ukrainians who have fled their homes. God bless and help them,” Cortes added.
In his Ash Wednesday message, Cortez reminded the people that Lent is a time for repentance and remembrance of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection. “This is the most opportune period to pray, fast, and do acts of charity,” he stressed.
“As we come closer to the May 2022 elections, we are also tremendously concerned with suspected election-related killings and the specter of massive vote-buying. We pray for much-needed conversion in all of us – as individuals and as a community,” he said.
The Bishop urged Filipinos to “be enlightened and emboldened in electing those who fight for the common good and not for the greedy interests of some, and who have always been on the side of the poor.”
Cortes quoted Pope Francis’ Lenten message that read: “Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity towards our neighbors. Lent is a favorable time to seek out and not to avoid those in need; to reach out and not to ignore those who need a sympathetic ear and a good word; to visit and not to abandon those who are lonely”. (PNA)