Philippines cathedral re-opens six months after deadly terror attacks

Published 27 July 2019  |  
(Photo: Aid to the Church in Need)
The cathedral was full for the re-dedication ceremony

A cathedral targeted in a deadly terrorist attack in the Philippines that killed 20 people has opened its doors once again.

The re-dedication ceremony was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel under tight security last week, six months after the bomb attack that also injured over 100 people.

It was led by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop Emeritus of Cotabato, who paid tribute to the resilience of local Catholics in the face of persecution.

Aid to the Church in Need's national director in the Philippines, Jonathan Luciano, who was present at the mass said: "Cardinal Orlando described how inspiring the people of Jolo were because of their faith and resilience despite constant persecution."

Despite the risks, Luciano said the cathedral was full for the occasion.

"Security was really tight – police and soldiers locked down an entire block of the city," he said.

(Photo: Aid to the Church in Need)
Jonathan Luciano, national director of Aid to the Church in Need in the Philippines

"Yet the cathedral was packed. The dedication was attended by hundreds. It was inspiring to see the families of the victims and the survivors of the blasts there."

ACN has been supporting the cathedral, including the costly repairs needed in light of the damage caused by the blast, which happened as mass was taking place in January.

The Muslim governor of Jolo joined the re-dedication ceremony and spoke of the partnership between Christians and Muslims, Luciano said.

"With this rebuilding and this re-consecration, dialogue can restart," he added.

"At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Caccia assured people that the Church of Christ and the Christian community is with them.

"They are not forgotten or neglected. This is not only manifested with financial assistance, but through the solidarity of prayer all over the world."

Luciano added that the Church still needed to be on its guard against the threat of violence from a small number of extremists, and that continued dialogue with local Muslims was important.

"We have to reinforce the relationship between Christians and Muslims. We can live harmoniously together," he said.

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