As the people of Ethiopia’s Tigray region continue to suffer at the heart of a violent conflict, with hundreds dead and thousands displaced, the situation threatens to escalate to a more serious refugee emergency and a region-wide crisis.
Bishop Paul Swarbrick, who holds the Africa brief at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has offered prayers for all affected by the conflict in the East African country:
“Advent is a time of hope, a precious need in our lives as individuals and as a society. The tragic events unfolding in Tigray and the Horn of Africa appear to defy all hope of a peaceful and swift solution. Our prayers and hearts go out to all victims of this conflict.
“Pope Francis has said, ‘Every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics, and of humanity. It is a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat before the forces of evil.’ This applies fully to the current situation engulfing Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and it appears to be worsening.
“And yet, we must have hope that a solution will come. We offer our prayers for all victims, those directly caught up in the violence, killed, injured, homeless, separated from loved ones, and those drawn in less directly.
“We pray for the Local Church as well as for all who are providing humanitarian support. We pray for soldiers, those firing the weapons, those dropping the bombs. We pray for political leaders and all who are tempted to look for revenge. Lord, in these days of Advent, lift us with the precious gift of hope found only in You.”