Catholic schools in the Philippines embarked on a 14-day prayer campaign for peace on Monday as fierce fighting continues in the southern city of Marawi. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said such ‘communal action’ is needed to help end the ongoing conflict in the Mindanao region. “The intention of the prayer and reflection is for peace in Marawi and other areas in the Philippines where there are conflicts,” said the CEAP, the country’s largest private educational organization. “This communal action also intended to touch the hearts of the Catholic educational community to assist in the rebuilding of the city of Marawi,” it said. In solidarity with other prayer initiatives, the prayer for peace is a project of the National Advocacy Commission (NAC) and has been adopted by the entire CEAP community.
The Islamic city of Marawi remains locked in a fierce battle between government forces and the Islamist Maute terrorist group that claims allegiance to the Islamic State. Since the terrorist group attacked the city, May 23, over 500 have died. Catholic bishops earlier called for prayers and increased inter-religious dialogue to fight “violent extremism”. They also appealed for a “return to normalcy and peace” as soon as possible as the humanitarian crisis of displaced persons soared to around 410,400 from about 89,500 families.
Earlier in July, representatives of various faith groups joined an ecumenical prayer gathering in Manila at the launch of a "prayer marathon for peace". At least a thousand Muslims and Christians gathered in Quezon City at noon for the prayers, organized by the Pasa Lord Movement. The movement includes representatives from various faiths and denominations, including Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Evangelicals, and Charismatic Christian groups. The organizers appealed to people to make the daily noon "prayer for peace" a habit. They encouraged Filipinos to recite the prayer "wherever they may be," especially during gatherings. (Source: CBCPNews/UCAN)