Just a few days after being released by Marxist rebels in Colombia, Bishop Misael Vacca of Yopal called for the release of all hostages. “Colombia deserves peace, we deserve a better country in which we can all work honestly and live as brothers and sisters,” he said.
Participating in the IV New Evangelization Congress, which gathered together 28 bishops, 4 archbishops, 100 priests and 450 lay Catholics, Bishop Vacca expressed his gratitude to Pope John Paul II, to Church leaders throughout the world, and to the Catholic faithful for their prayers for his release. Bishop Vacca explained that “in such a situation you’re not in charge of your own life and you don’t how or when it will end. Thanks be to God in my case it was short because by Monday at 8am I knew they were going to release me. I was very happy, but I was so tired that I didn’t think I would have the physical strength, so that is why I preferred to come back Tuesday morning.”
“To all those who are being held hostage by different groups or people, I offer my prayers above all, and while I was there I promised that if I was returned to my diocese I would celebrate a Mass for all those who have been kidnapped and for their families,” he added.
Likewise the bishop issued a call to work for peace with those who carry out violence. “Colombia deserves peace, we don’t need more violence, death, kidnapping and displacing of families; we deserve a better country in which we can all work honestly and live as brothers and sisters,” he said.
“Therefore I invite all those who take up arms or believe that violence is the road to peace, to really see that it is the wrong road. May they learn how to enter into sincere dialogue, so that we can achieve the peace that we so desperately need. Therefore I also invite families to pray for peace, and we ask the Lord to grant us this gift and that we might be instruments of peace,” the bishop said.
Lastly, the bishop explained that the Church is always ready to be “facilitators” in helping to bring an end to the violence, and that the Church will continue to work so that all hostages will be released.