MANILA, August 25, 2016— Amid the spate of killings and other challenges hounding the country, a Catholic archbishop has called for prayer to heal the “wounds and divisions” afflicting the country.
“Our first armor is prayer. So let us pray even more,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan.
The archbishop has also issued a “prayer for healing of the nation”, which asks for unity, solution to crimes and corruption, and compassion for those who died “in the present purge.”
“The killings continue to rise. The divisions seem to widen even more. The indifference to the violations of the Commandments of God is spreading. We must not give up,” he said.
The prayer will be recited before the start of every Mass his archdiocese for nine days starting Aug. 30 until Sept. 7, a day before the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Titled “Lord Heal Our Land,” the prayer was released in three languages: English, Pangasinense and Tagalog.
“We trust in the mercy of God to answer our prayers for healing when we celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Villegas.
The prelate also said that in Catholic schools in the archdiocese, it must be prayed before the start of classes in every classroom.
“Believe in miracles and the power of a praying people. When we pray together, we are strong with the strength of God,” he added.
Below is the English version of the prayer:
Father of endless mercy, we come to you,
a people wounded and torn by issues that have divided us
into opposing, bickering, quarreling and even hating factions.
We beg you for unity; we ask for healing;
we beseech you to forgive our sins and restore to our land
the joy and the peace that you alone can give.
Teach us once more the wisdom of the Scriptures:
that the help of man is vain
and that our strength is not in princes, but in You.
We pray for the leaders of our nation.
Let them acknowledge your sovereignty,
so that they may render due homage to your image that is in all.
Send your Spirit so that the miracle of Pentecost
by which all understood each other
may prevail over the Babel
by which our leaders slur and embarrass one another.
Let tongues of Divine fire settle on them as they did on the apostles
so that their words may be words of peace, joy, truth and love.
There is so much hatred, Father, and hatred always kills!
We pray that you purge our country of crime,
particularly the heinous crimes of drug-dealing
and the endemic corruption that impoverishes our nation.
But grant us too the wisdom to recognize
that these evils have their roots in all our hearts:
in our envy, greed, avarice and implacable desire for even more.
But have pity too on those who have lost their lives in the present purge.
We pray for them, because all life is precious in your sight,
and no man or woman is ever so unworthy of the redemption
that your Son brought us all!
Console their families and show their children the paths of righteousness –
as you alone can judge and teach what is righteous!
Finally, we pray for your Church
that it may be true to its prophetic vocation,
for it is when times our difficult and trying that you ask your Church
to be the servant of the nation by speaking Your Word.
Let not our fear and trepidation overcome the zeal for your house
and your truth that should consume us.
We know our sins.
We our humbled by our failings.
But we are also aware that when the prophets of old
pleaded to you their sinfulness,
you commanded them anyway to proclaim what you wanted proclaimed reminding them that it was not their word
that they were to announce but yours.
Forgive our sins in the Church and make us strong in your service
so that we may continue to be salt of the earth and light of the world.
Long ago, the woman of Galilee whom you chose to be the Mother of Your Son asked Juan Diego: “Am I not your mother?”
To our Mother’s prayers then, in this hour of need, we entrust ourselves.
From her we draw inspiration
to be the faithful bearers of the image of Your Son
that you called us and set us apart to be. AMEN