IMAGE: CNS photo/James Akena, Reuters
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president
of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops encouraged Catholics across the
nation to join with Pope Francis Feb. 23 for a special day of prayer and
fasting for peace, with special prayers for Congo and South Sudan.
conflict rages in both nations” and “innocent families suffer” in both
countries, said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston in a Feb. 14
He noted that South Sudan
won its independence in 2011 “only to find itself a victim to corruption and a
bloody civil war.”
In Congo, “the government
fails to honor the constitution as the Catholic Church courageously promotes a
peaceful resolution of the conflict between the ruling and opposition parties,”
Cardinal DiNardo said.
Pope Francis announced the
special day of prayer as he recited the Angelus prayer at the Vatican Feb. 4.
Cardinal DiNardo quoted
Pope Francis’ reflecting on the suffering caused by violent conflict: “Our
heavenly Father always listens to his children who cry to him in sorrow and
anguish, who ‘heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm
147:3). I make a heartfelt appeal so that we also listen to this cry and, each
one of us in his/her own conscience before God, ask ourselves, ‘What can I do
The cardinal added: “Let
us answer the Holy Father’s call to pray and fast for peace, especially for the
church and peoples of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And
let us turn our fasting into almsgiving and support the work of Catholic Relief
Services in both countries.”
CRS, based in Baltimore,
is the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency.
“May God bless South
Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and our world with peace,” said Cardinal
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