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Pope calls for Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on 23 February

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2018-02-23 - Rome

(Photos: Ciric International, Signature: Fabio Pignata /CPP/Ciric)​

Pope Francis is asking all men and women of goodwill to join him in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace for the war-torn people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan.
Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said that “Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”.

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace

He said our prayers will be offered especially to those suffering violence in the DRC and in South Sudan, and he continued, as on other similar occasions “I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join us this initiative in whatever ways they deem most appropriate”.

Linda Bordoni spoke to Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church's aid organization, about the situation in the two African nations and asked him why it is important to raise awareness.

Michel Roy says it is hugely important to break through the indifference that surrounds so many ‘forgotten conflicts’ and situations of terrible social and economic injustice in various parts of the world. “We have chosen South Sudan and DRC as two examples of peoples and countries that are suffering so much from conflicts that they have never wanted and of which they are the victims” he said.

Roy goes on to describe the political and economic interests that fuel the conflicts and continuing lack of security in both of those countries which have caused millions of people to be displaced and to suffer all the consequences displacement entails. And with the interests of neighbouring countries and in many cases of multi-national organizations at stake: “To stop a war once it has started is really difficult” he said.

The needs of the people are many, Roy explained, they are hungry, they need food and medical assistance, and while FAO has launched a humanitarian programme it is only partially funded and far from sufficient. Schools and churches have been destroyed, young people have been recruited into militia groups and the lack of international support means there is not hope in sight.

“The needs are humanitarian – also in places like the Central African Republic, Darfur and many other nations, there is urgent need for humanitarian response which the international community is not ready to give it seems” he said. Roy speaks of the need to mobilize politicians at all levels and to put pressure on the international community “to find ways to come out of this tragedy”.

“Peace can be reached, it’s a question of will” he said.   

By Linda Bordoni

http://www.vaticannews.va/en