Reaching out in faith beyond conflict and despair
Our brothers and sisters in the Philippines have endured some of the worst atrocities in recent months from Daesh (ISIS)-inspired extremists whose sole aim is to cause religious unrest. In spite of this, the Church continues to strive for peace between Christians and Muslims, particularly amongst the young people.
In May 2017, while Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, Islamist extremists desecrated and set fire to the cathedral after kidnapping Fr Teresito “Chito” Suganob and 15 parishioners. This terrifying event unfolded into a five-month siege of Marawi. And by the time the government took back control, more than a thousand people had died, nearly 27,000 families had been displaced and the city of Marawi was devastated.
Image taken on a project trip to the Philippines 2018, Mindanao and Northern Luzon. Visit to the destroyed historic Centre of Marawi city, now called Ground Zero. On the picture: Inside view of the markedly destroyed St. Mary's Cathedral of Marawi.
Photographer: Reinhard Backes. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need
Then, in January 2019, Islamist extremists bombed Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo during morning Mass – at least 20 people died and more than 100 were injured.
We cannot begin to imagine the pain those affected by these attacks, and others, feel – but we can assist in their healing. With your kindness we can continue our vital support, reaching out in conflict and despair.
The five-month Marawi siege by Islamist extremists in 2017 left 27,000 families displaced including 8,000 children. The majority of those held captive were Christians. ACN is providing emergency relief for the internally displaced, most of whom are living in camps.
ACN is supporting Hapitanan Rehabilitation Centre, which is run by Bishop de la Peña and provides trauma healing for Christians who endured horrific physical and psychological violence during the Marawi siege.
The bombing of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo by Islamist extremists left 20 people dead and more than 100 wounded. ACN has been helping with various projects to bring healing to the people and is now moving on to help rebuild the destroyed cathedral and other church buildings.
Read and download a full report here.