AFRICA - Vigil for peace in South Sudan and the DRC: "We appreciate Pope Francis’ words and the strong participation of the faithful"

Friday, 24 November 2017 peace   prayer   wars  

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "We appreciate the Holy Father’s words and the great number of faithful who participated in the prayer", says to Agenzia Fides Sister Yudith Pereira Rico, of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus-Mary, Associate Executive Director of Solidarity with South Sudan, commenting on the prayer vigil presided over by Pope Francis for peace in the world and in particular in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, held yesterday in St. Peter’s Basilica (see Fides 23/11/2017).
"A simple ceremony attended by priests, religious men and women, lay people and families. We are really happy", says Sister Yudith. "Pope Francis gave a concrete and incisive speech. For us, they were very important words that encourage us to continue in our mission", says the religious. "Tonight, with prayer we want to sow seeds of peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in every land wounded by war", said the Holy Father. "I had already decided to visit South Sudan, but it did not prove possible. Yet we know that prayer is more important, because it is more powerful: prayer works by the power of God, for whom nothing is impossible. For this reason, I offer heartfelt thanks to all those who planned this vigil and worked so hard to make it happen", said Pope Francis. He continued: "May the risen Lord break down the walls of hostility that today divide brothers and sisters, especially in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. May he comfort those women who are the victims of violence in war zones and throughout the world. May he protect children who suffer from conflicts in which they have no part, but which rob them of their childhood and at times of life itself". "How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children! Here war shows its most horrid face", denounced Pope Francis.
"Even the populations of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo felt encouraged by this initiative. Both in the DRC and in South Sudan the respective Episcopal Conferences organized moments of prayer at the same time with that held in the Vatican", recalls Sr. Yudith. "The most important thing is that the people of the two countries felt encouraged by the prayers and solidarity of so many people from other parts of the world", the religious said.
The next initiative of Solidarity with South Sudan is the round table that will be held on January 18 at Urbaniana University. "On that occasion, we want to propose concrete proposals of peace", says the religious. "We will show some testimonies, recorded this summer, regarding examples of peace in South Sudan and the DRC. Some of the pastoral workers involved in peace projects in the two countries will attend, as well as the Presidents of the two Episcopal Conferences. The question we want to answer is how can we make peace? We hope to have some concrete answers", Sister Yudith concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/11/2017)