By Leslie Ann Aquino
Noting the frequent natural calamities, Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona has asked priests in his archdiocese to ensure the safety of their church goers by putting in place “security measures” in their respective churches.
In a pastoral letter dated April 24, the prelate said the barbaric violence in Sri Lanka and the natural calamities in Central Luzon and Samar are “wake up calls” for pastors and clergy to remain vigilant and ever conscious of the safety of their parishioners especially during big liturgical celebrations.
“Without causing undue panic and confusion, I enjoin you dear Pastors to put in place security measures in your respective Churches to protect our faithful and to ensure peaceful liturgical celebrations,” said Tirona.
“Likewise, considering the frequencies of natural calamities caused by climate change and the very recent damaging earthquakes, I enjoin you dear parish priests and heads of institutions to initiate periodic inspection of the structural integrity of our churches, seminaries and ‘conventos’, especially our old historical churches, conventos and buildings,” he added.
“We must always ensure the safety of our church goers, and be pro-active in safeguarding our churches and the faithful against human violence and natural calamities,” Tirona said.
The Caceres prelate said the archdiocese will partner with professional groups and structural engineers, and security experts to help safeguard parishioners, and preserve cultural heritage, like their historical edifices and churches.
“We pray that no harm may ever come to our archdiocese, to province and region and our country,” said Tirona.
On Easter Sunday, many were shocked and angered by the simultaneous bombings of three Catholic churches and two hotels in Sri Lanka that cost the lives of more than 300 innocent victims and countless more wounded.
The next day, a 6.2 earthquake shook Central Luzon that took the lives of at least 10 people and caused serious damages to properties including some historical churches.
On Tuesday, a 6.5 earthquake caused damages to properties and brought panic to the people in San Juan, Eastern Samar. The tremors were felt as far as Cebu and some parts of the Bicol region.