Colombians are expecting from Pope Francis “a word of encouragement for evangelization, for reconciliation and not to ever go back,” said on Thursday, July 20, 2017 the President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (ECC), Monsignor Oscar Urbina Ortega, in an interview with Vatican Radio, in which he mentioned the Pontiff’s forthcoming international trip, scheduled from Sept. 6-11. After a half century of civil war and the Peace Agreement signed in 2016, this South American country is attempting a difficult reconstruction and reconciliation.
Colombia, said the ECC’s President on Vatican Radio, is “in a phase of ‘giving birth,’” namely, of undergoing a new birth. I believe it is this nascent creature that the Pope must find and encourage so that it can develop well in the light of the Gospel and of his witness.”
According to the Archbishop of Villavicencio, where Pope Francis will proclaim the new blesseds on September 8, the Church has “possibilities” to contribute to the country’s reconstruction, “because she has the Word of the Gospel, the word of papal teaching on all this aspect of reconciliation and peace and she has the instruments for reconciliation.” “A person reconciled with God can reconcile himself with the other and can reconcile himself with Creation,” said the prelate.
In a video-message published on the ECC’s site, on the occasion of the 207th anniversary of Colombia’s Independence, the Archbishop of Villavicencio exhorted his fellow countrymen “to take the first step towards reconciliation with God, with our brothers and with Creation.”
In the interview with Vatican Radio, the prelate reflected briefly on the issue of safeguarding the environment in his country. “The Pope will also visit the center of Colombia, a privileged scenario” to develop the whole discourse on the common home,” said the head of the ECC.