CDO archbishop urges parishioners, churches to help in rehab of drug addicts, pushers

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Aug) – Archbishop Antonio Ledesma on Wednesday called on his parishioners to open their hearts and communities to the more than 5,000 alleged drug pushers and addicts who have surrendered to the police last month.

Ledesma also asked his parishioners to join the Mass and city-wide procession that would be attended by the suspected drug pushers and addicts on Monday August 22.

“Pastoral charity urges us to concretize this reality. We should organize our communities to become ‘islands of mercy’ and ‘field hospitals’,” Ledesma said.

The prelate also urged all parish priests to open their churches where the drug addicts and pushers can be of help and for rehabilitation program.

He said there are at least 5,000 suspected drug addicts and pushers who responded to the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to surrender and most of them have gone back to their homes without treatment because the city lacks rehabilitation centers.

Ledesma said the communities will serve as sanctuaries for drug addicts and pushers from becoming possible victims of extrajudicial killings and vigilantes.

He said many of the alleged addicts and pushers are suffering from all sorts of psychological, moral, spiritual and financial difficulties.

“The church can be a safe oasis for silence, prayer, reflection and sharing through retreats and recollections. We uncompromisingly uphold the sanctity and dignity of human life. We are opposed to any form of extrajudicial killings as means of addressing the issue of drug use. We cannot solve a crime by committing another crime,” Ledesma said.

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro has declared the month of August as Jubilee of Mercy.

The Mass will be held at the St. Augustine Cathedral Monday morning followed by a procession from Mt. Carmel Church in Barangay Carmen to the Cathedral in the afternoon. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)