AMERICA/COLOMBIA – Solidarity and support of the bishops of Nueva Pamplona to the communities of Arauca affected by violence

AMERICA/COLOMBIA – Solidarity and support of the bishops of Nueva Pamplona to the communities of Arauca affected by violence

Arauca (Agenzia Fides) – The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Nueva Pamplona have traveled to the diocese of Arauca to express their support and closeness to the Bishop of this jurisdiction, Monsignor Jaime Cristóbal Abril González, to the Church and to the entire community of this territory, affected by the violence.
Recently, Monsignor Abril González once again denounced the resumption of the armed confrontation between the rebel groups in Arauca, which caused victims and suffering, especially among the civilian population, resulting in the worsening of the humanitarian crisis and social, with selective killings, especially of young people, forced displacement of entire families especially in rural areas, threats against leaders, bombings, burning cars, among others (see Fides 18/1/2022). From March 14 to 16, according to the statement from the Colombian Episcopal Conference sent to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Jorge Alberto Ossa Soto, Archbishop of Nueva Pamplona, ​​​​visited the communities of Arauca, as well as Archbishop José Libardo Garcés Monsalve, Bishop of Cúcuta, and Monsignor Israel Bravo Cortés, Bishop of Tibú, spiritually accompanied by Monsignor Luis Gabriel Ramírez Díaz, Bishop of Ocaña, who was unable to attend the meeting due to travel difficulties.
The bishops visited the municipalities of Arauca, Tame, Fortul, Saravena and Arauquita. In the diocesan Marian sanctuary “La Negrita de la Cordillera, del Piedemonte y la Sabana”, they recited the Holy Rosary for peace, they visited various parishes and shelters for migrants managed by the diocesan social pastoral. This pilgrimage was accompanied by a copy of the “Cross of Peace”, which represents 60 years of brotherhood between the German diocese of Aachen and the Colombian Church (see Fides 3/12/2022). In this context, the Archbishop of Nueva Pamplona said: “We want, with this sign of the cross, to express that the Lord continues to bear the pain and suffering of the Araucan people and of Colombia…the Lord continues to bear our weaknesses, but he calls us to allow ourselves to be reconciled with him and with our brother”.
This visit, for Monsignor Jorge Alberto Ossa Soto, was a pilgrimage to pray and implore peace in these territories, “not a demonstration, nor a request for agreements, but a commitment, because in the first place peace is a gift from God and secondly, a commitment of the Christian”. Monsignor Jaime Cristóbal Abril González, Bishop of the Diocese of Arauca, underlined: “It was a very significant, very special visit, of brotherhood, closeness and witness, in unity in faith, in prayer for peace . It was an expression of solidarity with all the people who, in particular, during this year 2022 have had to suffer because of violence”. “May these signs continue to unite us as a reality of the province and continue to push us in our work of evangelization”.
Finally, he observed that it is his wish and that of the Araucan people that this gesture of solidarity be a “call to violent organizations to cease their actions, to respect international humanitarian law, which obviously includes respect for life and the dignity of each person. The call is to truly seek the ways of reconciliation and peace among all”. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 18/3/2022)


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