DUMAGUETE CITY -- Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete is calling on the Catholic faithful to pray without ceasing for peace in the country and in the world, especially with the conflicts and violence happening around.

"As Pope John Paul says, the world does not know peace; it will not know peace until it seeks the mercy of God," Cortes said.

Bishop Cortes also highlighted conversion as an important aspect in one’s life, and giving up sin and the temptations of the world to follow in Christ’s footsteps and live according to the will of God.

The Dumaguete prelate also asked that the people heed the “warnings” of the Blessed Mother, who in her apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, had disclosed of three “secrets” and gave messages to three young farmers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.

The Our Lady of Fatima pilgrim image is in the Diocese of Dumaguete from Monday to Thursday morning as part of the 100th year celebration of the apparitions in Portugal, where apocalyptic messages and prophecies were given to the young farmers.

Cortes presided the concelebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria on Monday and led the ritual in the placing of the crown and rosary on the pilgrim image of the Our Lady of Fatima.

According to the bishop, conversion and prayer are needed for one to be able to carry on with his or her daily life, and to be open to the will of God.

He also quoted a portion of the third secret of the Our Lady of Fatima saying that the heart that is open to God is stronger than weapons of any kind.

Cortes went on to say that not only is there war in many countries especially in the Arab world, but there are similar situations of violence and fighting in the Philippines, citing the recent Inabanga, Bohol encounter between government forces and the terror group, Abu Sayyaf.

Bishop Cortes said that he had wanted to get in touch with Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Cebu because of the terror threat in the Visayas, to request for a possible Oratio Imperata to "protect us from undue violence due to the terroristic activities and threats."

But Cortes stressed the need for the people here to be vigilant and not let their guards down.

"We really need to cooperate and collaborate with authorities and more importantly, we need to pray for our safety, for the security of our people, so that the Lord will really guard us and guide us," the prelate said.

That is why it is imperative that "we submit ourselves to the Lord and live our lives according to the will of God," Cortes added. (PNA)