In view of the critical situation in the Central African Republic, the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is initiating a Novena of prayer for peace in the country. Our Novena will begin on Tuesday, December 17 and continue throughout the week until Christmas Day, when Christ, who alone can bring the world true peace, is born to us as the Prince of Peace.
Eva-Maria Kolmann, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
The Novena is being organized in collaboration with the bishops, priests and faithful of this martyred country, which has been torn by recent violence. “A nation cannot live if it nourishes hatred in its heart all its life,” writes Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou in the introduction of his letter describing his country’s devastating circumstances.
The overrunning of the country by an overwhelmingly Muslim rebel coalition, known as the Séléka, began exactly a year ago and ended in March with a coup – plunging this already poor and troubled country into chaos. Violence and terror against the predominantly Christian civil population and against Church institutions have remained an almost daily occurrence since the coup as a result of indiscriminate vengeful attacks. Violence has now escalated between the once harmonious Christians and Muslims groups in this country who until recent events, have always lived together in peace.
In his Advent message, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui repeated his urgent warning with regard to this development indicating that “there are people who are deliberately stoking this conflict.” To succumb to the temptation of violence, he warned, would be “to play into their hands. Many men of evil will want this to happen and are only waiting for it to do so,” he stressed.
The Novena initiated by Aid to the Church in Need (International), will unite people throughout the planet, in prayer. This prayer is intended as a contribution to overcoming hatred and restoring peace to the troubled Central African Republic.