Church in Colombia convenes national peace pilgrimage

Bogotá, Colombia, Sep 9, 2013 / 04:06 pm (CNA).- The Colombian bishops are inviting the faithful of their country to take part in a pilgrimage for peace and reconciliation during the national Week for Peace this month.

“Peace has been one of the great concerns of the Church throughout the centuries,” said Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, president of the Colombian Bishops Conference.

The pilgrimage – which began Sept. 8 – comes after the initiation of peace talks between the government and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, a revolutionary guerrilla organization that had been in conflict with the state for decades.

Given these circumstances, Cardinal Salazar said, “the prayer for peace has become even more urgent and necessary. For this reason the Church calls us to go on pilgrimage for peace and reconciliation.”

The director of the National Secretariat for Social Ministry, Bishop Hector Fabio Henao, said the Week for Peace will take place Sept. 8-15 in Colombia and is intended to help encourage the peace process currently ongoing in the country.

“The Week for Peace aims to send a very strong message that Colombian society supports the negotiations to end the conflict, that it agrees that negotiated political solutions be sought for the conflict that has left the Colombian society with so much destruction and death in these decades,” he said.

The statue of Our Lady of Chiquinquira, the patroness of Colombia, will be taken on pilgrimage to areas throughout the country during the Week of Peace.

The Dominican order in Colombia has assumed the role of organizing and leading the pilgrimage. In each city along the route, the local bishop will welcome the statue of Our Lady of Chiquinquira and join the faithful in prayers for peace.

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