Ordeal strengthened my faith: former Maute hostage

MANILA � Fr. Chito Soganub, who was taken hostage for 116 days by members of the Maute Group during the Marawi conflict last year, admitted that he once asked God why He had put him in that situation.

However, Soganub noted that instead of faltering, his faith was even strengthened by the experience.

I complained, I asked Him, 'Why me?' I did not commit a big sin. It reached that point but it (my faith) did not waiver, it even strengthened. I know that the Lord put me in that situation but He was not happy that He had to put me in that situation, he said in an interview Friday during a press conference.

The Catholic priest added that it never crossed his mind to leave the clergy during his captivity.

No, it's out of the question. It never crossed my mind, not in one point. That's not the issue. The issue there is how to survive. How to strengthen my faith, especially (because) I am a priest. It's not a question of getting out, he said.

Soganub added that although he says Masses, he misses holding the Eucharistic Celebration in Marawi. He is currently going through a healing process.

When asked why he was emotional while telling his ordeal, he recalled that at that time, you face death every day, sometimes every minute.

One wouldn't know if the air strike will hit us that minute...You wait for your death every minute," Soganub said.

Meanwhile, the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Philippines and the Prelature of Marawi are working together to help heal thousands of people and rehabilitate the war-torn city.

The Duyog Marawi campaign, which was launched on Friday, aims to raise funds to help rebuild the city and help the people start anew.

Jonathan Luciano, ACN Philippines national director, said the program will focus on livelihood support for residents of Marawi City, the rehabilitation of the St. Mary's Cathedral, and support for the 148 Christian and Muslim volunteers.

We cannot do this alone, as we are supported solely by donors worldwide. We are encouraging our fellow Filipinos to join us in this mission. There are many ways to support us, and we are partnering with different dioceses as well to ask for their support, Luciano said.

Donations are accepted through ACN Philippines' savings accounts at Metrobank (savings account number ?6327632026699), or Unionbank (savings account number ?102440009889).

Other help may be coursed through the ACN Philippines' website, https://acn-philippines.org/donate, through pledge forms, or by pickups within Metro Manila, which may be coordinated through ?(02)2447334, ?09451894071 or ?09476968575.

For those who want to volunteer for Duyog Marawi, they may contact Bro. Reynaldo Barnido, Duyog Marawi director at ?09276615853 or info@duyogmarawi.org or visit the Mindanao State University Campus. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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