By Christina Hermoso
A Holy Mass will be held at 3:30 p.m. today, July 31, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City, Pangasinan as an expression of support for Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, who has been accused, along with several other churchmen and opposition leaders, of cyber libel and sedition.
The mass will be followed by a procession around the city and a candle-lighting ceremony. At 8 p.m. and every night until September 28, church bells around the diocese will toll for three minutes to call for justice, peace, and in search of truth for the accusations made by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG). The pealing of church bells started last Saturday, July 27 and will be done for two months.
“The pealing of church bells serves as the voice of the faithful against the extrajudicial killings and attacks made against innocent individuals. The ringing of bells also serves as a call for action in search of truth, justice, peace, and dignity of life,” the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan said over Church-run Radio Veritas.
“As we hear the tolling of the church bells, let it remind us that, amidst the deafening shouts of indecency, lies and senseless killings, our silence adds to the growing number of deaths and calumnies around us. Let the tolling of the bells be our voice, crying for justice, peace, and truth. Speak up! Let the bells move us to action! Be involved and stand for truth, justice, decency, and the dignity of life!” the archdiocese added.
The Diocese of Cubao held a holy mass and a prayer vigil last Saturday, July 27, in support of Cubao Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, who is also being accused of sedition and cyber libel. The Diocese of Balanga, likewise, offered a mass in support of Ongtico who formerly served as bishop of Balanga.