• Bishops urged to raise money for Christians in Syria, Iraq

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    Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas is urging all Filipino bishops to take up collections that will be donated to the Christians who are reportedly suffering in Iraq and Syria.

    According to Villegas, the collections that will be gathered from Church goers will be sent to the CBCP “that will see to their remittance to the ecclesiastical jurisdictions of Syria and Iraq.”

    “While we have our own projects in the Philippines, we cannot put these ahead of the suffering of Christians in that troubled part of our world,” he said in his statement issued to reporters.

    Filipino Christians, according to Villegas, should be generous to extend help to those Christians in Syria and Iraq “who were not only evicted from their homes, but their places of worships” were also razed to the ground.

    The CBCP president said those who did such “godless rage” to the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq may have “no genuine religion (that they) can ever identify (with)!”

    “For many, the food and drink that sustain life are daily issues. They rise from sleep each day to struggle just to keep themselves alive,” he added.

    “We must be generous, and the fact that we have our own needs here in the Philippines does not excuse us from the Christian obligation of sharing with our suffering brothers and sisters,” Villegas said.

    Aside from monetary aid, the CBCP president also urged the Filipino Christians to be “ceaseless in prayer, uniting ourselves with our suffering brothers and sisters.”

    “We pray that even as many of them now see no way out of the misery that has been visited on them, the God who opens paths through the sea and ways in the desert, may make a way for them to the future that can only be His gift!” he said.

    Based on reports, the Sunni militant group is targeting Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen to convert to their strict form of Sharia law.

    Islamic State insurgents have captured a third of Iraq with little resistance and declared a caliphate in areas of Iraq and Syria that they control.

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