Christian Churches in the Philippines marked this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by urging the dismantling of “any form of barriers” to peace and reconciliation.
In a joint statement issued on Jan. 18, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) renewed their commitment to pursuing “lasting peace”.
“We convey high hopes that barriers to peace in our country be resolved through dialogues and negotiations,” the statement read.
The statement was signed by Bishop Mel Rey Uy, chairperson of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs, and Ms. Minnie Anne Mata-Calub, general secretary of the NCCP.
The religious leaders encouraged Christians “to leave behind our divisions and unite our forces” amid the climate crisis and environmental devastation to “turn our common future into the dawn of a new and radiant day.”
Christians around the world observe the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” from January 18-25, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.
This year’s commemoration is themed “You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbor as yourself” (Lk 10:27).
The church leaders said the theme highlights “the call for all Christians to love God and neighbor” amidst “fragmentation – wars, strife, and environmental destruction, this mandate is even extended to the whole created Earth”.
“In our week of prayer, we are urged to look beyond our walls and comforts and enlarge the space of our tent as a space of communion, a place of participation, and a foundation for an ecumenical mission,” the church leaders said.
The leaders urged the faithful to put “love at the center” of the quest for peace and reconciliation. They stressed the need to “stand for truth in times of misinformation, a firm conviction in times of corruption, a shared sense of humanity in times of hunger and economic strife, peace based on justice and reconciliation in times of war, and compassion for our threatened environment”.