Sept. 27, 2014, 2014, 10:25 a.m. – PERSECUTED Christians
in Iraq and Syria are considered “modern martyrs of faith” for living up to
their beliefs even to the point of death.

In his homily during the closing Eucharistic celebration of
UST Martyrs’ Week at the Central Seminary Chapel Friday afternoon, Fr. Rodel
Aligan O.P., dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, said Christians executed
by Islamic extremists had shown acts of faith and courage enough to leave a
legacy to modern Christians.

“The martyrs are those who claim the unique love of Christ,”
Aligan said. “The blood of martyrs would always be the foundation of the Church
that we have.”

With the theme “Called to Serve, Heroes of Faith,” Martyrs’
Week honored Christians in Iraq and Syria who became victims of the extremist
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The event is organized annually by the
UST Theological Society.

Aligan said the red chasuble that the Dominican priests wore
during Holy Mass symbolized the blood that the modern martyrs had shed for
their faith. “There is a reason why we, Dominican priests wore red,” Aligan
said. “This is to commemorate the martyrs that gave their lives in order to
live under the teachings of God.”

He added that the celebration should help Christians all
over the world remember the true meaning of the Catholic faith. “To be
Christ-like, one has to suffer,” Aligan said.

Prior to the Holy Mass, a Candle Walk at the Santisimo
Rosario Parish Church and around the campus was led by students from different
colleges and the Central Seminary. Images of Thomasian martyrs were raised
during the procession.

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According to Bro. Jonas Awayan, Martyrs’ Week project head,
the procession was meant to show the Thomasian community the exemplary devotion
of martyrs to God. “This is for the benefit of the younger generation, that
their life would be more fruitful,” Awayan said.

Last Sept. 22, Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P.
led the Holy Mass for Peace at the St. Dominic Chapel. It was followed by a
prayer for peace and release of white doves in front of the Tan Yan Kee Student

A symposium on the Thomasian martyrs led by Fr. Louie
Coronel, O.P., editor at Boletin Ecclesiastico, was held last Sept. 24 at the
Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building. The “celebration of the Word”
and the recitation of the Thomasian Prayer for Peace which was led by Fr.
Emilio Platti, O.P., professor emeritus at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven last
Sept. 25 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish.


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