VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed his sorrow at the deaths of two priests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stressing that violence “is a road with no future.”
Parish priest Father Francois Xavier Mateseso and assistant parish priest Father Aime Ndjabu were killed last Saturday at the parish of Nyakasanza by militiamen of the Lendu ethnic group.
Numerous people had sought refuge in the church’s premises; at least 48 were killed.
In a telegram addressed to the bishop of Bunia, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, said that the Pope entrusts all the people who were killed “to the infinite mercy of the God of love and peace.”
After assuring his prayers for the mourning local community, the Holy Father “invited each one to commit himself every day to follow Christ in order to reject violence, which is a road with no future, and to construct a lasting peace founded on justice and respect for people.”
There has been violence between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups for many years. The Lendu are in the majority in Bunia and are its native population. The Hema come from Uganda.