By: Agence France-Presse
The Catholic trustworthy in Guam led prayers for peace Sunday within the shadow of North Korean missile menace, with the western Pacific island’s archbishop interesting for “prudence” amid an escalating confrontation between the US and Pyongyang.
The largely Catholic territory ought to pray for a “just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action”, mentioned Archbishop Michael Byrnes, echoing a flurry of worldwide calls for US President Donald Trump to point out higher rhetorical restraint.
A “prayers for peace” lunchtime rally within the capital Hagatna drew round 100 individuals. But regardless of Guam having develop into the centre of a threatened showdown between the United States and nuclear-armed North Korea, many mentioned they had been unfazed.
“I am really not scared because if it’s our time to die it is our time to die,” added Sita Manjaras, 62, a retired instructor from Tamuning.
Father Mike Crisostomo mentioned their response to the menace was to have religion and pray.
“This goes to show to the other worlds, to the other nations and the countries, that Guam maybe small, our faith and our trust is big,” he mentioned.
Dora Salazar, 82, who made the 14 kilometre (9 mile) journey from the village of Mangilao for the peace rally, mentioned she was praying for the North’s chief Kim Jong-Un.
“We pray that God will touch his heart,” she mentioned.
– ‘Fire and fury’ –
In response to Trump’s menace of “fire and fury”, North Korea has pledged to have plans prepared in a matter of days to launch an “enveloping fire” of missiles in the direction of Guam.
At the island’s predominant church, the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica, Father Paul Gofigan advised the congregation to be ready in case North Korea does launch its missiles.
“What would you do if you have only 14 minutes left? The thing to do is pray and reflect,” he mentioned
“Prioritise your life. This is a wake-up call, no matter what happens”.
Trump has been engaged all week in verbal sparring with the North over its weapons and missile packages, declaring Friday that the US army is “locked and loaded.”
He has advised Guam Governor Eddie Calvo that US army was ready to “ensure the safety and security of the people of Guam.”
While 85 p.c of Guam’s 162,000 residents are Catholic, with temperatures hovering round 31 levels Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) many locals and vacationers most well-liked to go to the seaside slightly than church.
“No one feels threatened. Should we? Definitely not,” mentioned Australian vacationer Kirstie Bridgement.
“Guam is the most protected island. We feel safer than ever.”
The island homes two massive US army bases and is residence to greater than 6,000 US army personnel.
American vacationer Bryan Sanchez mentioned it was obscure the menace “particularly with the best way tradition is like with memes, something goes to be changed into a joke.
“People just aren’t, I guess, as aggressive or too worried about that kind of stuff in our day and age.”
Meanwhile, two neighborhood teams against the presence of the US army in Guam, Independent Guahan and Prutehi Litekyan, have organised a “People for Peace” rally in Hagatna on Monday.
“What’s happening in Guam is a global issue, because if our island is attacked, it could be the catalyst for a global catastrophe,” Kenneth Gofigan Kuper of the Independent Guahan motion mentioned.
The rally organisers mentioned in an announcement that “Guam has been compelled in the course of different nations’ conflicts, notably as an unincorporated territory of the United States.
“As a outcome, lots of Guam’s individuals know the painful and horrific results of warfare as World II survivors and as veterans.
“Thus, the members of Independent Guahan and Prutehi Litekyan, both organisations dedicated to the decolonisation and demilitarisation of Guam, feel it is imperative for the community to stand together in a call for peace.”