By Leslie Ann Aquino
It was September last year when Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle appealed for the tolling of church bells every 8 p.m. in his archdiocese amid the series of killings in the country.
On Monday, the cardinal asked priests in his archdiocese to continue the practice as a way of remembering the dead following the killing of Father Mark Ventura of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao.
“I am asking you to continue the practice and to invite our communities to pause, remember and pray,” Tagle said in a letter dated April 30, a day after Ventura was shot to death in Cagayan.
“The bells beckon us to remember the dead, never to forget them, and to ask God to remember them. The bells haunt the perpetrators of violence and killing to remember their victims, never to forget them,” he added.
His Eminence said the bells also urge us to commit to actions of truth, justice, love, and respect for God’s gift of human life and dignity.
“The bells beg us to transform the mourning of our people into hope and peace,” said Tagle.
Cardinal Tagle earlier condemned the murder of Ventura at the same time expressed sadness that some people no longer value life as a gift from God.
“It’s sad that a priest was killed in Tuguegarao. And even if he’s not a priest… a person. Isn’t he a gift from God? Is it that easy nowadays to just kill and throw someone away?” he said in a CBCP News post.
Ventura was killed on Sunday after celebrating Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.
He was the second priest to be murdered in four months after Fr. Marcelito Paez, 72, who was killed by still unidentified gunman in Nueva Ecija province last December.
Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao appealed to the authorities for a speedy investigation into 37-year-old priest’s murder and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Read more: Priest shot dead in Cagayan