A cathedral targeted in a suicide bombing attack in southern Philippines that killed 20 people and injured over 100 people has opened its doors, six months after the tragedy.

Bombed Philippine Church Reopens
Bombed Philippine Church Reopens

The Cathedral in the violence-plagued southern Philippine town of Jolo reopened on July 16, nearly six months after a fatal bombing attack.

Christian Today reports that last week, a re-dedication ceremony was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel under tight security. The Muslim governor of Jolo attended the re-dedication ceremony, along with families of the victims and the survivors.

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Aid to the Church in Need’s national director in the Philippines, Jonathan Luciano, who joined the mass said: “Cardinal Orlando described how inspiring the people of Jolo were because of their faith and resilience despite constant persecution.”

He added that although the security was tight, as police and soldiers locked down an entire block of the city, the dedication was attended by hundreds. “It was inspiring to see the families of the victims and the survivors of the blasts there,” he said.

Luciano continued to say that the Church still needs to be on its guard against the threat of violence from a small number of extremists, and ongoing dialogue with local Muslims is crucial.

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“We have to reinforce the relationship between Christians and Muslims. We can live harmoniously together,” he said.

Five soldiers were among those killed in the Jan. 27 twin explosions that rocked the cathedral. Supporters of the terrorist organization Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The explosions caused serious damage to the cathedral, which was later repaired with help from the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need.

The bombing of the cathedral was one of the deadliest attacks in the southern Philippines and occurred despite an earlier declaration of martial law in the region.

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