By Robin Gomes
The annual Walk for Life, organized each year by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Episcopal Commission on the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), aims to demonstrate “solidarity in upholding the dignity of life," from conception to natural death.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), expressed hope that Filipinos would show interest and commitment to "respecting life."
"We hope and pray that many of us will be there to show our interest, our commitment, our heart for advocacy in love and respect for life," he told Radio Veritas846. In a video promoting the Walk For Life 2020, the church-run radio featured several bishops encouraging their faithful to commit themselves to safeguard life.
Albert Loteyro, vice president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, said that during the walk that will be held simultaneously in different parts of the country from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., prayers will be also be offered “for protection against the COVID-19 [corononavirus], for it to stop from further spreading, and for the virus to already be controlled”.
Loteyro encouraged participants to the event to wear white shirts or the shirt of their organization and to bring their banners, candles, and a rosary as well as umbrellas, extra shirts, water, and face masks.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said, "all of us should stand up, pray, and defend life given to us by God."
"It's very important that we join in this advocacy," said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan. "If we truly believe that life should be defended, walk for life in all its stages."
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, called on Filipino families to join the campaign, “especially at this time when we are faced with different issues such as divorce and death penalty.”
“Let us show to everyone that we are united and that we have force in numbers,” said the bishop who has taken charge of Manila Archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator after its archbishop, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle left for the Vatican to head the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Last year, thousands of Catholics took to the streets of major cities across the Philippines to voice concerns over threats to life, including drug-related killings, attacks on places of worship and a proposal to revive capital punishment.
This year, similar events will be held simultaneously in the provinces of Pangasinan, Tarlac and Cebu, and in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Palo and Manila.
In the Philippine capital, Manila, the event will take place at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City at 4 a.m. Bishop Pabillo will preside over a concelebrated Mass with several bishops and some 30 priests. (Source: UCANEWS)