Pontiff Calls for End to Violence in Colombia

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging an end to violence in Colombia and offering his support for a Day of Prayer for Victims of Violence being celebrated there on Good Friday.

The Pope mentioned Colombia today before praying the midday Angelus with those who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass.

Regarding the Day of Prayer, he said, «I spiritually unite myself to this important initiative and earnestly exhort Colombians to participate in it. At the same time, I pray to God for those in this beloved nation who have been vilely stripped of their lives or their goods.»

The Episcopal Conference of Colombia has called for the day of prayer. On April 6, it was announced by the secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Vicente Córdoba of Bucaramanga.

The prelate observed, «Violence, in its various manifestations, has been a constant in the political and social history of our nation. The victims of this tragic phenomenon have been many, but in large part, they have remained invisible and forgotten.»

This Day of Prayer, Bishop Córdoba added, aims to «accompany them on the path of reconciliation and forgiveness.»

Benedict XVI’s message today also added a call to conversion. 

«I renew my urgent call to conversion, to repentance and to reconciliation,» he said. «No more violence in Colombia! May peace reign there!»

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