A special Sunday has been designated by the South Central Luzon Bishops Conference (SCLBC) in observance of the work of the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD).
The Bishops assigned the Sunday closest to December 10, International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 8 this year, as the day to celebrate RPRD Sunday. Dioceses of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in South Central Luzon observed the special day through the Sunday services held in their parishes with an offering taken up to support the work of human rights defenders.
RPRD was formed in 2010 with services and programs that hoped to contribute on creating a safe environment for, supporting and strengthening the work of non-church and faith-based human rights defenders.
The South Central Luzon clergy passed a formal resolution supporting RPRD Sunday during their Clergy Convocation in November 2019 in the Diocese of Masbate.
A pastoral message jointly signed by the SCLBC Chairperson Bishop Rowel Arevalo and RPRD Board Chairperson Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer was read during the Sunday service in all parishes throughout the South Central Luzon dioceses on December 8.
“Upholding the work of human rights defenders, which has been the focus of RPRD’s work, gives testament to our commitment in protecting human dignity, which is a divine mission,” part of the statement reads. The Bishops strongly asked the clergy to extend their support to RPRD’s work as an expression of their faith in God and in serving God’s people.
“RPRD has helped us fulfill the duty of promoting and defending human rights, and serves as a Christian prophetic voice for respect for human life, and human dignity, wellbeing and welfare, and for God’s people’s common aspirations for justice and peace amid a society that disregards the value of the human person,” Bishop Fabriquer said.
RPRD executive director Fr. Jonash Joyohoy expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support the Bishops and clergy of South Central Luzon region extended in celebration of RPRD Sunday.
“The threats to human dignity and rights are advancing at an epidemic speed,” Joyohoy said. “Through our bishops and clergy’s support, RPRD will strengthen its work for the defense of human rights and support for the work of human rights defenders,” he added.
“Through the dedication of this special RPRD Sunday, the South Central Luzon Bishops Conference pledges to affirm the intrinsic value of human dignity and rights in a way that transforms the culture of violence in our country,” Bishop Arevalo said.
“In this way, SCLBC celebrates the gift of human dignity and witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ in the midst of God’s people’s struggle for abundant life, justice, and peace,” the bishop added.