Friday the 26th of February

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

No Holy Week observance planned in war-torn Philippine city

There will be no Holy Week observance this year in Marawi almost a year after extremist gunmen occupied the southern Philippine city.

The Catholic cathedral remains closed. It was desecrated and burned at the height of the five-month conflict that ended in October.

It was to be the first time that Holy Week has not been celebrated in the predominantly Muslim city, where more than 300,000 people remain in temporary shelters, ucanews.com reported.

Priests from nearby dioceses have volunteered to celebrate Masses on a university campus in the city.

Bishop Edwin de la Pena of Marawi assured Catholics in the region that other parishes not affected by the fighting will continue their ministries.

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi was destroyed when Daesh-inspired gunmen entered in May.

Even the vicar-general of the Marawi prelature will not be returning to the city soon. Fr Teresito Soganub said he was still in “the healing stage” after his abduction by gunmen. “I won’t be able to go back to my regular ministry yet,” he said.

Picture: A military truck maneuvers next to destroyed buildings in the war-torn city of Marawi, Philippines. There will be no Holy Week observance this year in Marawi almost a year after extremist gunmen occupied the southern Philippine city. (CNS photo/Richel V. Umel, EPA).