The Council of Catholic Hierarchs of Eritrea this week released a letter this week calling on the faithful to pray for peace in the region.
The request comes after the national leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia last week signed an agreement ending two decades of border disputes that caused tension and often erupted into violence.
The letter, signed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam, gives thanks to God for the just signed declaration between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea and appeals to all believers to join in elevating “special and intense prayers” for a just and lasting peace, according to Vatican News.
“As we all know,” the bishops wrote, “the echoes of peace that we have been longing for so many years are resonating, infusing us with joy and courage…we must thank the Lord and then all those who are committed ‘operators of peace’, but, they point out, side by side with giving thanks; constant prayer and imploration are needed.”
The bishops asked that from July 8 to August 6, all parishes and other Catholic institutions in the nation offer special prayers for peace.
“Therefore, in order for our just begun journey of peace to be effective, fruitful and above all just and orientated towards the common good of both of our peoples, we exhort you,” the bishops wrote, “not only to pray, but also to organize events during which to reflect on the themes of justice, peace and reconciliation.”
During the Angelus on July 1, 2018, Pope Francis welcomed the recent resumption of dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
“In the midst of so many conflicts, it’s necessary to point out an initiative that one can describe as historic — and one can also say that it’s good news: after 20 years, these days the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have begun to talk of peace again together,” rejoiced the Pope in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
From 1998 to 2000, the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has left some 80,000 dead.