.- Police in the Philippines are investigating a grenade attack on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, early on Sunday. An unidentified person threw a grenade at the tombs of the late bishops Francis Joseph McSorley and Benjamin De Jesus. Fr. Jose Ante, OMI, told Church authorities in Manila that the attack came before Mass early Sunday at the cathedral.
In a text message to Church authorities, Fr. Ante reported that nobody was injured but the glass windows were shattered by the blast. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the incident.
“God is still protecting us,” the priest said, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Bishop McSorley, a New Jersey native who died in 1970, was the first Vicar Apostolic of Jolo when it was established in July 1958.
Bishop De Jesus, also an OMI missionary, was Jolo’s second vicar apostolic who was gunned down by unidentified men in broad daylight on Feb. 4, 1997. He was 56.
Superintendent Leonardo Espina, Chief of the Philippine National Police’s Public Information Office, said they have yet to identify the perpetrators and local investigators are still trying to determine the signature of the improvised explosive device.
The southwestern island province of Sulu is located in the autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.
In 2008 Catholic clergy and religious were put under military protection after a series of murders and kidnappings committed by Muslim militants who targeted Church personnel. In 2009 there were at least three mortar attacks in Jolo, one of which struck the Marist-run Notre Dame Boys School.