This year’s observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace commenced with a Walk for Peace participated in by various groups from government and non-government institutions; sectoral and religious groups, Catholic and other Christian denominations, Moslem and Lumad communities; from different sectors (the youth, women, etc.) last November 29, 2018. With this year’s theme: “Peace through Dialogue: Our Destiny”, the Walk for Peace in Cagayan de Oro organized by the Inter-faith Forum for Peace, Harmony and Solidarity in coordination with the Bishops Ulama Conference, highlighted the need for dialogue between and among people of different sectors of the society.

This observance is pursuant to Proclamation Order No. 127, dated November 26, 2001 issued by the president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, thereby amending PR 207 issued by then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. The said proclamation states that ‘all government agencies and its instrumentalities, as well as civil society based in Mindanao, are enjoined and encouraged to engage in relevant and meaningful activities’ in the annual celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebrated from last Thursday of November until the first Wednesday of December. The Mindanao Week of Peace celebrates the common aspirations of the people in Mindanao to live in peace, unity and harmony with each other regardless of status in life, religion or culture. It aims to raise and sustain the people’s consciousness for a culture of peace and dialogue and, to provide a venue for expressions of peace and in various forms and for convergence of peace initiatives.

As a Catholic institution imbued with peace advocacy, Lourdes College through its personnel joined the cause in solidarity with the larger community. The walk started at 6:00 am from Rodelsa Rotunda Velez Street Extension towards Apolinar Velez Street up to Provincial Capitol grounds. It was followed by a short program commencing with an inner-faith prayer. Msgr. Rey Mosanto, one of those who are in the forefront of the Mindanao Week of Peace then, shared to the group the rationale and the objectives of the said celebration.

Answering the question “What’s your piece for PEACE?”, Lourdesians who participated in the Walk for Peace has this to say:

  • Peace is Christ. Christ is Peace.
  • Pray for Peace. Live Peace. Breathe Peace. Positive Storytelling. Smile
  • Peace starts with deep humility.
  • Peace is achieved when you how to listen.
  • Peace is about respect beyond differences.
  • Respect begets respect.
  • Peace within me to help communicate peace easily,

…And the following insights in relation to the activity:

  • It takes humility for someone to start a conversation or dialogue. It may seem easy but not for someone who has high pride to exert effort to interact and respect differences towards meaningful dialogue with varied acquaintances.
  • Peace can be attained through a peaceful way of life. We are called to let the culture of dialogue prevail instead of the culture of indifference.
  • It was a chance for me to express what PEACE meant for me. Peace begins with deep humility and love towards others.
  • Peace must begin within the heart of every person and. That would propel him/her to communicate genuine peace to everyone regardless of culture, race, tradition and religion. In this way, a fruitful dialogue of peace can be attained.

Women and men of different religious background, from various sectors of the society

All gathered together for a common cause.

Leaving behind all prejudices and biases, together we walk,

Kinship beyond differences, harmony regardless of status in life, religion and culture

For a culture of peace and dialogue to prevail in our land.

“Peace through Dialogue: Our Destiny” is this year’s theme.

Empathy, humility in listening to “the other”, we are called to live.

A heart that is humble to accept differences, by being respectful not by being indifferent.

Commitment to Peace, we are all called to heed.

Ever-lasting peace that we aspire, we try to live right here right now with God’s grace. Amen.

(Cherry Valdez)

Walk for Peace