Colombian bishops call for day of prayer for peace, reconciliation in violence-torn country

Cardinal Luis José Rueda Aparicio God “is our peace” and “prayer leads us to meet him,” said the archbishop of Bogotá, Cardinal Luis José Rueda Aparicio. | Credit: Colombian Bishops Conference / Screenshot

The Colombian Bishops’ Conference  (CEC by its Spanish acronym) has called on all Catholics to join on May 3, Day of the Holy Cross, in a day of prayer for peace and reconciliation in the country.

“The call is made directly by the bishops and is based on recognizing the serious humanitarian crisis that multiple territories face amid armed conflict and other types of violence, as well as the complex sociopolitical panorama that the nation is experiencing today, permeated by division and polarization,” the CEC announced on its website.

Since Pope Francis’ visit to Colombia in September 2017 and his meeting with victims of the armed conflict, the Church in that country has established a National Day of Prayer for Reconciliation and Peace to be celebrated every May 3.

Inspired by a saying of Jesus Christ from Matthew 23:8, the motto for this year’s day of prayer is “All Brothers.” 

In a video message, the president of the CEC and archbishop of Bogotá, Cardinal Luis José Rueda Aparicio, invites people to recognize that “beyond our differences, we are all children of God and, therefore, brothers.”

God “is our peace” and “prayer leads us to meet him,” the cardinal said, expressing his conviction that “reconciliation is the path we need to travel to experience true hope for change in the country.”

“Let us pray for our country, that the Lord shows us with his Holy Spirit the paths of reconciliation,” the cardinal continued. “Reconciliation requires the ability to see the other as a brother. Jesus has told us: We are all children of the same Father.”

Rueda went on to cite Pope Francis, who “in a graphic way” has reminded us that “we are all in the same boat. The Colombian boat requires that you open your heart to reconciliation, to forgiveness. To look at the other, not as an enemy to be eliminated but as a friend, as a member of the same Colombian family.”

“That is what we want on May 3, for there to be a full day of prayer in parish churches, in the oratories of schools, universities, and women’s and men’s religious houses,” Rueda concluded. 

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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