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Monday, December 5, 2016
Mass for peace in Zimbabwe held at Westminster Cathedral
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¬†Prayers for Zimbabwe were said in churches around the UK and Ireland over the weekend. Bishop Alan Hopes celebrated a special Mass for peace in Zimbabwe at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday - the eve of the country's run-off presidential election. Many Zimbabweans attended the Mass, together with rerpresentatives from many other African chaplancies. The day also marked the Solemnity of St John Southworth a Westminster priest who was martyred for his faith. In his Homily, referring to the tense and often violent situation in Zimbabwe, Bishop Hopes said that there was ' only one answer in the midst of all this hopelessness and seemingly immoveable obstacles - and that is love. And so there are many Christian leaders, priests and pastors, religious and lay people who are witnessing to their faith in Jesus Christ by loving and caring for the victims of the situation. Where there is love, there is God' 'At the beginning of this year, Cardinal Cormac, together with Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth paid a pastoral visit to the Diocese of Harare to express the care and concern of the Church here in England and Wales for the Church and the people of Zimbabwe. The Cardinal speaks even now of the tremendous effect that visit has made on his life and his thinking. ' 'His visit made him very aware of the pain and suffering which is a daily reality for so many in Zimbabwe. It is caused through deep poverty and hunger, a consequence of the suspension of all aid operations. It is caused by the organised violence and torture that has been unleashed since the elections of March and has left so many orphaned, widowed, disabled or displaced. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Zimbabwe in the statement they issued on June 12th say that all this will make reconciliation, unity and healing more difficult to achieve, but they add,.hatred, intimidation and violence cannot have the last word in our society.' 'How true! One of the sisters who met the Cardinal in Harare, told him that there is only one answer in the midst of all this hopelessness and seemingly immoveable obstacles - and that is love. And so there are many Christian leaders, priests and pastors, religious and lay people who are witnessing to their faith in Jesus Christ by loving and caring for the victims of the situation. Where there is love, there is God.' 'And where God is there is always hope. God is surely the foundation of all our hopes. In his homily in Harare Cathedral, the Cardinal spoke of his hope that all the people of Zimbabwe will experience a better future ≠ a future where there will be justice, prosperity and peace. The Cardinal said that he was returning home with a sense of a church that is vibrant and united, bringing hope to the people. ' 'It is a coincidence that we are praying for peace at the celebration of St John Southworth. But his work and witness make the same points for us. He too lived and worked in a society which was divided and marked by violence against those who were unable to accept in conscience what was happening at an official level. John Southworth loved and cared for the poorest and the most marginalised members of his society in London ≠ and through his pastoral care and love gave so many people great hope that God would provide a better future both in this world and in the one to come.' Source: Archbishop's House
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