John Paul II Appeals for Peace in Colombia

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made an appeal for peace in Colombia when he beatified Laura Montoya (1874-1949), the “Teacher of Indians.”

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The times of the founder of the Congregation of Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and Catherine of Siena “were not easy, as social tensions, then also, bloodied her noble homeland,” the Pope said today.

“Being inspired by her pacifying message, let us pray today that our beloved Colombia will soon enjoy peace, justice and integral progress,” the Holy Father said.

A 40-year insurgent campaign by guerrillas against the Colombian government has left more than 300,000 dead.

Over the past decade, at least 57 Catholic representatives, including bishops, priests, nuns, and seminarians have been killed in the country.

Currently, Father César Darío Peña García, 42, who works in the northwestern village of Raudal, is being held captive by the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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