Tombura-Yambio (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic community, during Lent, and in particular on Friday 23 February, will pray for peace in the conflict-stricken nations of South Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "We are humbly grateful to our beloved Pope Francis who invites us to unite in prayer and to fast for peace in our devastated land and in all nations in difficulty". This is what His Exc. Mgr. Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio and President of the Bishops' Conference of Sudan said to the Catholic faithful of South Sudanese on Sunday 18 February.
"On behalf of the faithful Catholics and of all the people of Sudan and South Sudan, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Holy Father for his love and constant attention towards us", reads the note sent to Agenzia Fides. "Since the first day of our war conflicts, Pope Francis has offered continuous prayers and support for stability and peace in South Sudan, including Sudan", adds the Bishop.
"Lent is a moment that calls all of us Christians to a deeper reflection on our lives, not only to repentance and reconciliation. Our country needs unity, to guide us to healing through authentic repentance. Unity does not mean a conflict-free society, but rather a society in which all people can enjoy freedom and experience love and compassion.
We have to reflect on the life of Christ, on his values, his altruism and his willingness to resist the world’s temptations - to order to do good and influence others to be messengers of God's words", continues Mgr. Kussala.
"In dark times like these, the answers are not easy, but we can comfort ourselves by knowing that even the most obscure point can be illuminated by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope. Forgiveness requires practice, honesty, openness and a willingness to try. It is not easy.
The only way to experience healing and peace is to forgive.
If we are not able to forgive, we remain locked up in our grief and shut out of the possibility of experiencing healing and freedom, excluded from the possibility of being at peace", the Bishop points out.
"Our Easter must be true peace in our hearts, with our neighbors and our nations. Therefore, as we prepare to respond to Christ's call to draw even closer to Him in this Lent, to be filled with Easter Joy and authorized to build His Kingdom of Truth, Justice and Peace, let us remember the words of wisdom of the Book of the Sirach: To the poor man also extend your hand, that your blessing may be complete (Sirach 7:32), concludes the President of the Sudanese Bishops' Conference. The diocese of Tombura-Yambio has over one million Catholics. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2018)