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MANILA, Dec. 7, 2011—With four session days left before Congress adjourns for the Christmas break on December 16, a nationwide spiritual caravan spanning the Philippines’ three major islands is being carried out to demonstrate the country’s pro-life, anti-RH conviction.
The “National Marian Pilgrimage for Life: No to RH bill, no to same-sex union,” a seven-day caravan of prayers and sacrifices, kicked off from Davao City Monday this week and is currently passing through Maasin, Southern Leyte.
Talks and a prayer vigil will be held in Tacloban tonight, according to Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Executive Director of Human Life International (HLI) Asia and Oceania.
The nationwide pilgrimage and caravan will culminate in Manila on Sunday, December 11, in what is expected to be a grand prayer rally with thousands – faith-based and civic groups, the youth, family and life advocates, laity and clergy – participating and uniting in prayer.
“This is meant to ask for God’s mercy to spare the Philippines from the onslaught of the culture of d.e.a.t.h. (which stands for divorce, euthanasia, abortion, total population control, and homosexuality), particularly the reproductive health bill,” Acosta said.
“At the same time, the caravan aims to bring a strong message to the whole country – especially our legislators, that we say no to the culture of death, and rally the Filipino people to unite with the Catholic Church in actively opposing the reproductive health bill and other death bills, now threatening to pass in the Congress of the Philippines,” she explained.
The reproductive health (RH) bill has been the subject of public debates, both in and out of the halls of Congress, with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte expressing his desire to put the measure to a vote before the end of the year.
Over a dozen more solons are on the list of those scheduled to interpellate the bill’s sponsors at the House of Representatives. At the Senate, on the other hand, debates continue, with the most recent session zeroing in on documentation that revealed massive funding of RH lobby groups by foreign agencies, including pro-abortion and population control groups.
Acosta pointed out that the pilgrimage and Sunday’s prayer rally are meant to draw attention to another legislative measure that stands to ruin the fabric of Philippine society.
“This pilgrimage also comes providentially at a time when same-sex union is on the verge of legalization, with the approval on third reading on November 21 by the Senate, through Senate Bill 2814, titled “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination, Profiling, Violence and All Forms of Intolerance Against Persons Based on Ethnicity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Language, Disability, or Other Status,” which provides on Section 7 among others that “All persons shall have equal rights in matters related to marriage, adoption……” the HLI official said.
“The same bill’s house version, House Bill No. 4807, has also been passed on third reading, and both houses will have a bicameral session on December 13! Thus, people of God need to unite and storm the heavens with prayers.”
The lead vehicle of the Caravan will carry a 7-foot statue of Our Lady Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, as well as a big image of the Divine Mercy, “to hopefully bless the whole country as the caravan travels through the different provinces and cities,” Acosta said.
Following the images are vehicles of the different contingents from the participating dioceses, parishes, lay groups and individuals, who pray the rosary, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, and Prayer of Reparation during the travel.
After passing through identified convergence points in Mindanao and the Visayas such as Butuan, Surigao, Tacloban, Catbalogan, Calbayog City, and Matnog in Sorsogon, the Caravan will move to Lipa City on Saturday, December 10 for another day of intense prayers and reflections at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.
Participants from Northern and Central Luzon, as well as from Central Visayas, are requested to converge in Lipa City on this day as Lipa is the main convergence point for participants from these regions.
Among the day’s activities at the church will be a talk by Acosta at 10:45 a.m.- 12:00 noon.
The Caravan will leave Lipa City at 8:30 a.m. on December 11 and proceed to the Quirino Grandstand, Manila, for the culmination of the week-long pilgrimage.
Participants who wish to enjoy the decorated floats that are part of the Caravan are advised to be at the Quirino Grandstand at 1:00 p.m. for the parade and judging of these floats. Program featuring pro-life speakers including legislators will start at 4:30, followed by a concelebrated Mass at 6:00 with Bishop Teodoro Bacani as main celebrant.
For more information about the “National Marian Pilgrimage for Life: No to RH bill, no to same-sex union,” please contact Lorna at the Pro-Life Office at tel. nos. 733-7027 or 734-9425 or mobile no. 09192337783. You may tune in to Radio Veritas for updates on the ongoing pilgrimage. (CBCP for Life)