HAGATNA: The Catholic faithful in Guam led prayers for peace Sunday in the shadow of North Korean missile threat, with the western Pacific island’s archbishop appealing for “prudence” amid an escalating war of words between the US and Pyongyang.
The largely Catholic territory should pray for a “just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action”, said Archbishop Michael Byrnes, echoing a flurry of international calls for US President Donald Trump to show greater rhetorical restraint.
A “prayers for peace” lunchtime rally in the capital Hagatna drew around 100 people. But despite Guam having become the centre of a threatened showdown between the United States and nuclear-armed North Korea, many said they were unfazed.
“I am really not scared because if it’s our time to die it is our time to die,” added Sita Manjaras, 62, a retired teacher from Tamuning.
Father Mike Crisostomo said their response to the threat was to have faith and pray.
“This goes to show to the other worlds, to the other nations and the countries, that Guam maybe small, our faith and our trust is big,” he said.
Dora Salazar, 82, who made the 14 kilometre (nine mile) journey from the village of Mangilao for the peace rally, said she was praying for the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un.
“We pray that God will touch his heart,” she said.
‘Fire and fury’
In response to Trump’s threat of “fire and fury,” North Korea has pledged to have plans ready in a matter of days to launch an “enveloping fire” of missiles towards Guam.
At the island’s main church, the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica, Father Paul Gofigan told the congregation to be prepared in case North Korea does launch its missiles.
“What would you do if you have only 14 minutes left? The thing to do is pray and reflect,” he said
“Prioritize your life. This is a wake-up call, no matter what happens”.
Trump has been engaged all week in verbal sparring with the North over its weapons and missile programs, declaring Friday that the US military is “locked and loaded.”
He has told Guam Governor Eddie Calvo that US military was prepared to “ensure the safety and security of the people of Guam.”