PRAYING WITH POPE FRANCIS – IN COVENANT SOLIDARITY •
Last week it was Peru. Now it’s Colombia. According to the authorities, at least 254 people were killed and more than 200 were injured in flooding and mudslides caused by strong rains in Mocoa, the capital of Colombia’s Putumayo Province in the south east of the country. Some 400 people are also thought to be missing. Our Holy Father is on a pastoral visit to the Italian diocese of Carpi which was affected by an earthquake in May 2012. He came to confirm their faith and encourage them on their journey of faith to God and care for their fellow man. After the Angelus on the first Sunday of April in Martyrs Square, Pope Francis used the occasion to call those present to unite in prayer with Colombia.
I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that has struck Colombia, were a massive mudslide caused by torrential rains swept through the city of Mocoa, causing many deaths and injuries. I pray for the victims and we assure them of our proximity at a time when so many are weeping for the loss of their loved ones, and I thank all those who are working to rescue them.”
He also asked for prayers for the perpetrators of the crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where armed conflict has resulted in many victims and displaced people. The Pontiff also prayed for the people of Venezuela who are experiencing tense moments after the Supreme Court reversed its decision to strip Congress of its powers. He also prayed for Paraguay, where protests against a law approved by the Senate will allow the president to stand for re-election have left a young man dead and several people injured.
“There is also news coming in of bloody confrontations in the Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — confrontations that have resulted in victims and displaced people, and have also affected Church personnel and property; churches, hospitals, schools. I assure you that I am with this nation and I urge everyone to pray for peace, so that the hearts of the perpetrators of these kinds of crimes do not remain enslaved to hatred and violence, because hatred and violence always destroy.
In addition to this, I am closely following what is happening in Venezuela and Paraguay. I am praying for the people of these nations, who are very dear to me and I invite everyone to persevere unceasingly, avoiding any kind of violence, in the search for political solutions.”
Statement from the Bishops of Paraguay [in Spanish]
Original: Spanish, April 2, 2017. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa