By Leslie Ann Aquino
Father Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the priest that was abducted by the Maute terrorist group in Marawi last year, led the faithful in paying tribute to Christian martyrs on Wednesday.
The priest presided the Mass at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, for the observance of Red Wednesday.
In his homily, Soganub said he felt privileged to have been given the chance to preside the Mass for the occasion being a victim of persecution himself during the Marawi siege.
“As a direct victim of persecution, as I have experience being hostaged, being a human shield of a rebel group it was so hard. That’s why I’m very passionate when we celebrate this Red Wednesday because I knew from the heart when you are a victim of persecution it’s not only your eyes that will cry, your heart, your soul, your entire being because you don’t know what to do. You cannot do anything except to pray,” he said.
When placed in that situation, the priest admitted that it would be hard to see the presence of God with the bullets and airstrikes.
Soganub said he even personally bargained to God to make a miracle.
“I prayed hoping the Lord will grant my prayer. Hoping he wil answer me directly but I failed. It was not given. It was not granted” he said.
The priest said he later realized that he was wrong.
“I could not see the presence of God because fear swallowed me. Because imminent death and the trauma are covering my eyes not to see the wonders of God and his direct protection. I fail to realized that its more than a month…I survived,” said Soganub.
And so for those who suffer today, he asked them to pray and trust in the Lord.
“Ask the help of the Lord and God will stay and protect you,” said Soganub.
Red Wednesday is an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic charity organization under the Pope that was established to support Christian communities undergoing persecution, oppression and poverty.
During Red Wednesday the facade of participating cathedrals, minor basilicas, shrines and Catholic universities are lit in red to honor and pay tribute to the sacrifice of modern-day Christian martyrs.