You may have heard enough of the “running priest” who made news headlines for making running around the country as his way of advocating social issues confronting the country. This time it is a “biking priest” who is touring the country from his native place of Davao City to preach the Gospel of peace and life amidst the prevailing culture of death.
BY KARL G. OMBION
Vol. VIII, No. 9, April 6-12, 2008
BACOLOD CITY – You may have heard enough of the “running priest” who made news headlines for making running around the country as his way of advocating social issues confronting the country.
This time it is a “biking priest” who is touring the country from his native place of Davao City to preach the Gospel of peace and life amidst the prevailing culture of death.
Fr. Amado L. Picardal, a member of the Redemptorist religious missionaries, arrived in Bacolod last Tuesday morning for some talks and sharing on peace and life issues after biking 740 kilometers for seven days from Davao City via Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro City, Bohol, Cebu, Dumaguete City to Kabankalan via Mabinay highland, then to this city.
Fr. Picardal in an interview with Bulatlat at the Redemptorist convent in this city said that he is out to complete his 5,000 kilometers road bike for 56 days.
He is now biking the provinces of Panay then cross to Mindoro, Batangas to Manila, and the rest of Luzon provinces up to Aparri, and back to Davao.
When asked why he chose biking and not motorbiking, Fr. Picardal said, “This is environmental friendly; I need this to strengthen my ailing heart and cure my diabetes; and this is my way of contributing to raising social awareness of the people on various economic, cultural and political problems besetting our country, and where the value and sanctity of life is disregarded, a society where the culture of death and violence prevail.”
“This is my way of making biking a form of preaching,” Fr. Picardal added.
Picardal said that in every town and city he passed, he was elated to be welcomed by churches and religious groups, civic organizations and bikers associations, and added that he hopes to get the same warm welcome in the remaining weeks.
In each place he stops by, he offers a liturgical mass, and gives lectures on various peace and life issues confronting the country.
Among the issues and themes Fr. Picardal discuss during his biking tour are abortion, the ongoing conflict/war in the countryside, the spate of killings of militants and journalists, environmental destruction, and excessive graft and corruption in the government.
Fr. Picardal also hopes that through his biking as a way of preaching, the government officials and military leaders and the leaders of the armed revolutionary movements particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would go back to the negotiating table and talk about peace, agree to address the roots of armed conflict and put an end to extrajudicial killings.
The biking priest revealed that this is the second time he is touring the whole country by just biking; the first was in 2000, during the time of deposed president Joseph Estrada, during which he biked around Mindanao but covered around 2,083 kilometers only.
“This is also the first time that I will tour areas around the country where massive violence occurs like the areas of Samar, Mindoro, Southern Luzon, the Cordilleras and areas in Mindanao; and this time, I will have real opportunity to promote the sanctity of life and peace,” Fr. Picardal added.
“I hope this is not the last time I will make this biking tour, because I know we still have lots to do to achieve peace in our country,” Picardal ended.
Fr. Picardal, 54 years old, lives in Davao City, and teaches at the Redemptorist seminary. He is also active in various peace advocacy concerns in Mindanao. (Bulatlat.com)