At the start of the nine-day Simbang Gabi masses, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the faithful to remember earthquake victims in Mindanao.
“Alalahanin po natin ang mga kapatid natin lalo na sa Mindanao na kahapon ay dumanas na naman ng lindol at mas malakas kaysa sa mga nauna pa (Let’s us remember our brethren in Mindanao who were affected again by another earthquake which was stronger than the previous ones),” Tagle said in his homily at the start of the nine-day masses in Manila Cathedral early Monday.
Citing his conversations with some bishops from Mindanao, Tagle said the diocese which was worst-hit by Sunday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake is the Diocese of Digos in Davao del Sur.
“Ang pinaka-naapektuhan ay ang nasasakupan ng diocese ng Digos at sabi ng obispo kagabi, meron pang isang pari nasugatan dahil inabutan ng lindol habang bumibista siya sa isang malayong lugar. Pero sabi nung obispo, ‘Chito, Simbang Gabi na bukas, at ipapamalas ng sambayanan na kahit sa lindol, may pananampalataya at yun ang diwa ng Simbang Gabi — pananampalataya (The diocese of Digos is the most affected and the bishop (Guillermo Afable) said one priest was wounded while visiting a remote area. But he said, ‘Chito, Simbang Gabi starts tomorrow and the people will show that even in earthquakes, there is faith and that is the essence of Simbang Gabi — faith’),” he said.
He also urged the people to strengthen their faith in God.
“Nananalig tayo at naniniwala mayroong darating, Hesus ang Diyos magliligtas. Emmanuel, ang Diyos kapiling natin. At sa darating na siyam na araw, Siya ang ating titingnan para sa pagdating ng Pasko, si Hesus talaga ang ating tanggapin, nang mabago magkaroon ng liwanag, magkaroon ng kapayapaan ang ating buhay, ang ating pamilya, at ang ating sambayanan (We believe that somebody will arrive, that is Jesus our Lord our Savior. Emmanuel, the Lord is with us. And for the next nine days, we will look at Him and when Christmas comes, we will accept Jesus in our lives for us to experience the light of change. So that we will have peace in our lives, in our families and in our country),” he said.
Simbang Gabi is part of Catholic tradition where the faithful attends masses in churches.
The nine-day masses are from December 16 until December 24, a day before Christmas Day, the day Jesus Christ was born.
Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to the people of Mindanao to be calm a day after the earthquake hit the region.
CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles also urged the faithful to pray.
“Let us pray for calmness, not to panic. And let us pray to the Lord for everyone’s safety,” he said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.
The Davao archbishop asked the people to apply what they learn in earthquake drills.
“Let us try our very best to follow the known ‘what to do’ steps when an earthquake occurs,” Valles said.
Initial reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said at least four people were killed due to collapsed walls and establishments.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the center of the tremor was recorded in Padada, Davao Del Sur where the tectonic origin was located with a depth of 30 kilometers. (Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)