Medellin (Agenzia Fides) - "As Pastors of the people of God, we continue to be concerned about the problems that plague this region of the country. We dispute that the environmental destruction caused by irresponsible mining is increasing, the presence of armed people is multiplying and the vicious cycle of drugs is growing. The loss of human life due to the violence pains us. We regret that extortion and other forms of crime continue to pose serious threats to the life and development of communities". This is what the Bishops of the Colombian departments of Antioquia and Chocó say in a message published in view of Christmas, sent to Fides, in which they recall that this year "has been particularly difficult for all mankind following the health emergency created by Covid 19". They also underline the strength and solidarity shown by the communities to tackle this pandemic. "We give thanks to God for the human, social and spiritual values, as well as for the wealth of natural resources, which have made it possible to face the many problems that arise in our communities".
The Bishops express their closeness to the victims of the fires, floods and natural disasters that have affected these populations, and since the emergency continues in several places, they ask for the solidarity of the Colombian people and state institutions to continue providing aid.
"We believe that the deep roots of these situations are to be found in the forgetfulness of God, in the loss of values and in the lack of the horizon of the common good", underline the Bishops, urging, with Pope Francis "not to allow ourselves to be robbed of hope", and to prepare the Christmas of the Lord in which the Father reveals his love and mercy to us in his Son Jesus Christ who becomes man for our salvation.
The Bishops therefore invite us to live Christmas with faith and hope, according to four guidelines: "as a propitious moment to reflect on the meaning of our life and the direction we want to give it; to make commitments to change for our own good and that of others. as an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen family life because it enables us to experience the power of love, unity, forgiveness, mutual help, understanding, dialogue, mutual care; like a feast of encounter and fraternity, not of noise, excess and waste. Let us think of the brothers who do not have what is necessary to live and let us turn to them with concrete works of solidarity. This is the right way if we want Colombia to stop being one of the most unequal countries in the world. Christmas should also be experienced as a privileged moment to guarantee the construction of peace in social justice. This time asks us to make a courageous and determined choice in order to put an end to all forms of violence, corruption, dishonesty and criminality".
Finally, the Bishops invoke the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, so that "the celebration of the birth of Christ may be light for the peoples of Chocó and Antioquia, and open horizons of hope for their indigenous communities, descending from the African and mixed". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2020)