Priest to walk, run to new assignment in Manila

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 March) — Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal said in a mass Sunday that he will be assigned to Manila as the new executive secretary of the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-BEC Committee).

But instead of taking a plane to Manila Picardal will once again embark on another “Run/Walk for Life and Peace” for two months starting April 1.

At 6am on Friday, a sendoff mass for the priest will be held at the Redemptorist church in Bajada.

In his blog site, Picardal said: “Instead of flying, I will just run/walk to Manila and even farther – up to Aparri, the northern tip of the Philippines, then take the bus back to Manila (it will take 58 days to cover over 2000 km). This will symbolize my life as a continuing journey and pilgrimage.”

He also wrote that on March 11, Bishop George Rimando, chair of the CBCP-BEC Committee, confirmed his appointment.

In his homily, Picardal said he will take the opportunity to bring the message of his advocacies across the country, as he will hold masses in every stop.

The journey, he said, will serve as his expression of support to the peace processes between the government and the National Democratic Front, and between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“Let us value life, let us support the peace process,” Picardal said in the mass.

“I would like also to express my opposition to the proposed coal-fired power plant here in Davao City. Projects like this would only destroy our environment,” he added.

Picardal, who is also vocal against the extrajudicial killings in the city, added that his journey also aims to encourage other people to denounce these acts.

“I appeal to the Commission of Human Rights to continue the investigation and come up with a final report and hold accountable local government officials sponsoring these killings,” he said in his blog.

Finally, he expressed his strong opposition to the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 4244) saying it is based on the false assumption that there is a crisis of overpopulation in our country that in turn causes continuing poverty of the people and hinders sustainable development.

“These are the messages that I will convey to the people along the way. To be pro-life means to oppose the above-mentioned manifestations of the culture of death,” he said.

Picardal, a native of Iligan City, thanked the parishioners for supporting him in his 16 years with the Redemptorist church in this city.

In his 58-day journey, Picardal will only have a total seven full days of rest as posted in his blog.

At the end of his journey, he will celebrate the Mass for Life and Peace in Aparri on May 29, 2011 Sunday. “And after that [I will] take the bus for Manila. I will be staying in Baclaran, my new home for the next four years and report for work to the CBCP-BEC office on June 1,” Picardal wrote. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)