Pope Francis has launched a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace for war-torn nations, in particular for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and for South Sudan that are suffering protracted conflict. He has invited all men and women, regardless of their religious denomination, to join, on Friday 23rd February.
Bernard Kateta Balinuno, CAFOD representative in DR Congo said: "The Democratic Republic of Congo has a history of violence which unfortunately continues to affect men, women and children in North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyi and recently the Kasai provinces. We welcome Pope Francis's call for fasting and prayer on Friday 23 February, and many people across DR Congo will be joining in. We need to pray for peace, for reconciliation, and an end to the violence and suffering of people.
"We need to also pray for the local and international aid workers, who despite many challenges and dangers work around the clock to reach some the most vulnerable families with the emergency aid they need in one of the most complicated logistical context. And lastly, we need to pray for good leadership, in our families, in our communities, and in our government."
Cathy Hynds, CAFOD Country Representative in South Sudan said: "The Pope's call for fasting and prayers, comes one year after the UN formally declared famine in parts of South Sudan, warning that war and a collapsing economy had left some 100,000-people facing starvation and a further one million people on the brink of severe food deprivation.
"The humanitarian response last year, kept people from the brink of catastrophe; vulnerable families have been supported with the food they urgently needed, which has saved the lives of many. However, we enter 2018 with a crippling hunger crisis in previously stable areas of the country.
"But, humanitarian aid cannot end the conflict in South Sudan. We pray, and ask others to pray for a sustainable political solution to the conflict; to pray for the continued initiatives of churches in South Sudan on the action plan for peace, and that the needs of the people of South Sudan are met."
CAFOD's Lent Family Fast Day 2018 is on Friday, 23 February. For more information and resources see: https://cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/Parish-fundraising/Fast-Day