© Fides

Pakistan: The Franciscans on the Border with India, on a Pilgrimage of Peace

Hope to Defuse Tension After Attack in Kashmir and Indian Military Reaction

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Say “no” to war, bring a message of peace, ask the governments of India and Pakistan not to involve the two peoples in a conflict that would only bring hatred, pain, destruction: with this spirit, in a phase of very high tension between India and Pakistan, after the attack in Kashmir and the Indian military reaction, on February 26, 2019, a delegation of Capuchin Franciscan friars made a pilgrimage to Gandha Singh, a village in Punjab on the border between India and Pakistan. Fides News Agency reported on February 27, 2019.
Fr. Benedict Ayodi OFM Cap, president of the Commission for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the General Curia of the Order of Capuchin Friars, who was part of the delegation, visited Pakistan to follow projects and initiatives on issues such as conflict management, human rights, poverty alleviation, peace building, interreligious dialogue. Among the other friars, there was also Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Provincial of the Capuchin Friars in Pakistan and Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, a well-known promoter of peace and interreligious harmony in the country.
“The purpose of this visit,” said Fr. Francis Nadeem to Agenzia Fides, “was to send a message of peace, brotherhood, friendship, reconciliation and mutual acceptance to the nations of India and Pakistan. We have raised a prayer to God so that we can commit ourselves to sustainable peace, we lit candles to symbolize our commitment and our invocation to the Most High.”
The friars recited and distributed the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi to the people present in the village, which recites “God make us instruments of your peace.” The Franciscans in Pakistan, they said, in this critical moment of a possible military escalation “feel the clear responsibility not to give in to violence and to envisage a peaceful solution for the long-standing question of Kashmir, recalling politics, in Pakistan and India, to choose the path of negotiation and confrontation and not that of arms.”

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