Pray for Africa Today
Pope Francis has declared February 23 a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Africa, especially for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
With so many direct attacks on human life, from abortion to war, Pope Francis is worried that so few people are involved in pro-life activities, he said at his Angelus where he announced the day of prayer and fasting.
The Angelus prayer marked Italy’s Pro-Life Sunday. Many of the faithful carried the pro-life movement’s green balloons with the message, “Yes to life”.
Thanking all the “different Church realities that promote and support life in many ways”, Pope Francis said he was surprised there were not more people involved.
“This worries me,” the pope said. “There aren’t many who fight on behalf of life in a world where, every day, more weapons are made; where, every day, more laws against life are passed; where, every day, this throwaway culture expands, throwing away what isn’t useful, what is bothersome” to too many people.”
With conflict continuing in many parts of the world, the pope said that it was time for a special day of prayer and fasting for peace, and that it was appropriate for the observance to take place on a Friday in Lent.
The DRC and South Sudan
“Let us offer it particularly for the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan,” he said.
Fighting between government troops, rebel forces and between militias continues in the DRC, especially in the country’s east, but tensions also have erupted as protests grow against President Joseph Kabila, whose term of office ended in 2016. New elections have yet to be scheduled.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war. But, just two years after independence, political tensions erupted into violence.
Pope Francis asked “our non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join this initiative in the way they believe is most opportune”.
And he prayed that “our heavenly Father would always listen to his children who cry to him in pain and anguish”.
But individuals also must hear those cries, he said, and ask themselves, “’What can I do for peace?”— By Cindy Wooden, CNS