VIENNA, Austria - The multi-sectoral council for honest, orderly and peaceful elections (HOPE) led an ecumenical prayer rally for peace last week in Vienna.

The event began with prayers, followed by inspirational messages from key personalities from the various Christian churches in Vienna. The messages of the speakers called for the participation of peace-loving Filipinos in maintaining a peaceful and credible election.

In his opening prayer, Catholic Filipino priest Fr. Mars Sahulga, SVD  asked the holy  spirit for help and guidance to choose the right candidate for the highest office in the Philippines, especially officials who are credible, honest, selfless, righteous and God-fearing.

Larry Castillo of the Couples for Christ - FFL wished and prayed that the May 2010 election be an opportunity for Filipinos to put into office people who will serve the people with decency and good governance and lead the country to prosperity and peace.

Ben Repol of the Kapounungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria and program facilitator of the ecumenical prayer commented that the affair is a display of unity in order to help ensure clean and honest elections in May.

"We have shown that we can unite in prayers. Now, we can unite and act on something concrete such as the coming elections. Lifted by this ecumenical prayer, we, from the various churches, could help ensure what we call 'HOPE' or honest, orderly and peaceful elections," said Repol.

“The theme HOPE, which is being discussed here, ay napakahalaga dahil kahit na nakikita nating wala nang pag-asa ang Pilipinas, the HOPE we are speaking here ang nagbibigay ng passion at inspirasyon sa bawat isa. We believe na may pag-asa pang makabangon ang Pilipinas,” Dominik Briones told ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau.

Bro. Manny Sarmiento of the PINAS FIRST Movement in Austria, one of the organizers of the prayer meeting, said that HOPE advocates vow to closely coordinate and monitor the May 2010 Philippine electoral process and will continually strive to raise the level of election literacy in the Filipino community in Vienna.

“The prayer meeting itself aims to gather Pinoys in Austria and encourage their broadest participation in the entire May 2010 Philippine election process. It also seeks to unite the Filipino community over the need to pray collectively, to appreciate the power of prayer and the value of the Holy Scriptures and to treasure Christian and Catholic songs, culture and tradition,” Sarmiento said.

The ecumenical prayer rally also puts forward the need to recognize and support the call on the Philippine government thru petition to put an end to the political killings, harassment and intimidations. Furthermore, the prayer meeting sought to enable the Filipino community to experience bonding together and feel the love for one another and for our Motherland.
The event is one of the highlights of the campaign for Honest Orderly and Peaceful Election (HOPE) that was launched on November 30, 2009.

                                                      PHOTOS HERE!