Bogota (Fides Service) - A National Peace Week with the theme “With Social Justice Peace is Possible” started on Sunday 5 September in Colombia. The goal of the initiative is to “develop actions involving the different sectors of society to reflect on the serious consequences generated by high rates of exclusion and poverty in which most Colombians live”. The week will close on 12 September.
Since 1987 in collaboration with ecclesial institutions, ecumenical bodies and entities of the civil society the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia has promoted a National Peace Week in order to devote time for reflection on themes of peace, human rights and reconciliation and to encourage citizens to undertake concrete commitments to build peace. Participants include pastoral workers, parish communities, apostolic movements, social and community organisations, schools, Catholic and state-run, and society in general.
Numerous initiatives are planned during and after the Week for Peace: congresses, seminars, events pro-life, pro justice and peace, cultural activities, recreational and sports events, information campaigns through the media, interviews with personalities working to promote peace, special religious services, (Masses, rosary, prayer vigils, Via Crucis, Eucharistic adoration, penitential liturgies), works of solidarity, etc.
This year the programme of activities also includes “Diocesan Congress of Reconciliation, and Social Justice: a journey to peace”, 4 and 5 September, organised by Girardota diocese; a “Regional Humanitarian Conference” organised by the “Andes Programme for Democracy and Human Rights”, under the aegis of the European Community, 7 to 9 September in Cali; a meeting “Human Rights and Peace” in Bogota, 5 and 6 September. From 2 and 4 September in Medellin there wa san international Seminar on “Urban conflict and alternatives for transformation”.
Themes for reflection during this Week for Peace are the following : “I exclude, you exclude: types of exclusion”; “Exclusion: situation of men and women in Colombia”; “Globalisation and exclusion”; “Human Rights, an alternative of social inclusion”; “Who are the most excluded?”; “Do the media promote inclusion?”; “With social justice peace is possible!”; “Migrants and displaced persons”. To encourage reflection the National Office for Social Pastoral of the Bishops’ Conference has issued various handbooks and other material.
For more information see: http://www.cec.org.co/home.htm (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 6/9/2004; Righe 32, Parole 410)