The Diocese of Legazpi has declared Monday, July 27, as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” in all parishes in Albay in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s delivery of his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Bishop Joel Baylon on Sunday issued a pastoral letter on the declaration as he called on all parish priests and the religious and lay people to offer prayers for the President and all government officials.
The pastoral letter read in 47 parishes across the province during the Sunday morning masses also enjoined all the priests to offer Holy Masses on Monday for peace, reconciliation and healing in the country.
Baylon likewise encouraged the parishes to have a “Holy Hour” where priests and the faithful can hold “organized prayers” after the last mass in the morning.
“Our nation will once again listen to (the) President’s SONA. As Catholic citizens of this nation, let us pray that the light of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel be their guide in making decisions for the country,” he said.
The bishop reminded government leaders that public office is a public trust; that they must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest and exemplary lives.
“In the end, like all of us, they are accountable to God,” he said.
Baylon also said: “We are not enemies of the State. We are not anti-government. The church is in fact a great collaborator of the government especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, during many calamities like typhoon volcanic eruptions and other disasters.”
The church, according to him, respects the mandates of officials to govern the country, but “we, as shepherds of the flock, also have to fulfill our pastoral duty of proclaiming the Gospel values and ensuring that human rights are not threatened and always respected”. (PNA)