MARAWI Bishop Edwin de la Peña turned emotional as he recalled the siege of Marawi during the University-wide faculty and staff retreat last Feb 9.
De la Peña, a target for kidnapping of Islamic State-inspired terrorists, teared up when he spoke of the hundreds of lives lost to the siege, as well as some 250 hostage victims.
“I cannot imagine myself being [a] hostage. I cannot also imagine them staying there for four to five months in the Maute lair and enduring that daily aerial bombardment because they were embedded right there […] and so that was part of my own struggle,” he said in his homily during retreat’s closing Eucharistic celebration at the Quadricentennial Pavillion.
With both Muslims and Christians suffering in Marawi, de la Peña called for interreligious dialogue.
“Christians and Muslims realized how much they share in common, not only the experience of suffering but also the experience of finding in one another the brother and sister that we can love and care for,” he added.
De la Peña also emphasized the need for God’s healing through human interaction.
“[In] sharing that suffering, we also discovered something beautiful about each other. We began to realize that we are not really enemies but we are friends; we are brothers and sisters. The Lord taught us to walk in his ways and discover our common humanity,” he said.
The University presented to the Marawi prelate its donation to “Duyog Marawi,” a project launched by the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to help rebuild Marawi City and the prelature.