The University of Santo Tomas, though the UST SIMBAHAYAN
Community Development Office and the UST Museum in close partnership
with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)-
Philippines, mounted an exhibition of religious artifacts destroyed in conflicts with ISIS. Titled “Where God Weeps,” the exhibition was opened on November 28, 2018 as part of and in time for this year’s Red Wednesday Campaign and ran until December 1, 2018. Red Wednesday is a campaign
to raise awareness on the severity of Christian persecution observed throug
people wearing red or lighting the facades of buildings in red.
UST joined this campaign for the second year and invited faculty members, students, and staff members to wear red. The UST Main Building and historic Arch of the Centuries, both National Cultural Treasures found
within the Manila campus, were also lit red in support of the campaign.
Having been launched first in Rome last year, the exhibition, which travels
the globe, was most recently exhibited in Portugal, and will be brought to Germany next week, said ACN-Philippines National Director Mr. Jonathan Luciano. It features artifacts mostly from Syria and Iraq, that were damaged by ISIS during their attacks. Also in the exhibition is the image
of the Maria Auxiliadora (Mary, Help of Christians) de Marawi, which was defaced during the Siege.
The image of the infant Jesus carried in her arms and the image’s
head remain missing even now. UST Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, O.P., in his welcome remarks, urged participants to
“Gather in solidarity [with] our persecuted fellow Christians. In prayer, we unite with them. We must find ways to help, assist, and if possible, liberate [them].” Vicar-General of the Prelature Marawi City Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub, who was held hostage for 117 days by the Maute Group during the Marawi Siege in May 2017, was the guest speaker.
He shared his experiences as a persecuted Catholic, saying that he was advised to leave the city several times, but “As a priest, I prayed to discern what to do, and [I reflected that] I was duty-bound to stay, to see and witness the unfolding of events.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the opening of the exhibition was led by Fr. Soganub, Mr. Luciano, UST Museum Director Rev. Fr. Isidro C. Abaño, and UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office Director Assoc. Prof. Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD.
Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organization for war refugees and recognized as a papal foundation since 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, wherever they are persecuted, oppressed, or suffering material need. Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of the Archdiocese of LingayenDagupan is the president of ACN.