The Bishops' Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) has announced a week of prayer for the country with the motto 'Justice and peace will kiss each other'; inspired by Psalm 85, which begins on September 8, feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and will end on the 15th, coinciding with the national holidays, inviting us to pray to God for peace and justice.
Mgr Jorge Solorzano Perez, Bishop of Granada, announced that the week will begin with a solemn Mass in every Cathedral of the country, on Sunday 8 September. The Bishops suggest a theme for each day. Sunday 8: children and catechists; Monday 9: farmers; Tuesday 10: clergy, religious and pastoral workers; Wednesday 11: lay movements; Thursday 12: families; Friday 13: penitential celebration for all; Saturday 14: the sick; Sunday 15: youth and prayer for the authorities.
On 15 September Nicaragua celebrates national independence. This is why Mgr Alvarez Lagos invited everyone to display the flag, symbol of the homeland, during this week of prayer and throughout the month, exhorting "to make ours the sufferings of the poor, the hungry, those who are society's marginalised due to the arrogance of the strongest. And these are a large part of our population".
The week of prayer for Nicaragua will take place in an increasingly hostile climate towards believers in which Ortega's regime is systematically harassing churches, clergy and faithful who criticise the dictatorship. In a recent interview, Mgr Juan Abelardo Mata, Bishop of Estelí and Secretary General of the Nicaraguan episcopate, said the Catholic Church feels persecuted by the military forces of the government.
Mgr Mata said that until there was genuine dialogue between the government and people there could be no reconstruction of peace. He said it was not a case of "I have to submit to your will or you to mine. No, it is to seek common points of agreement in order to promote the common good."
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