Pope Francis: “How hypocritical it is to deny mass murder of women and children!”
On this day, Pope Francis reminded that the last ones should be the first. Therefore, he presided over this prayer vigil for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The ceremony began with these songs in Swahili. During the entrance procession, various people carried photos of those for whom the prayer ceremony was organized up to the altar.
The pope recalled he wanted to travel to South Sudan but, as he couldn't, he thought the best way of being with these people was through prayer.
South Sudan has been experiencing a fierce civil war since seceding from its northern neighbor in 2011. Deaths are no longer even recorded, and there are two million refugees and two more who are internally displaced. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, violence is rampant as a result of excessive ambition to exploit its abundant natural resources and widespread corruption.
“May the risen Lord break down the walls of hostility that today divide brothers and sisters, especially in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Pope Francis asked for prayers for women and children, the main victims of war who are robbed of their lives and childhood. He also gave a strong denunciation.
“How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children! Here war shows its most horrid face.”
During the vigil, they didn't only pray for people who suffered through wars or those who save them, but also for the conversion of those who wage the wars, of those who sell weapons and, above all, the ruling leaders.
“May the Lord strengthen in government officials and all leaders a spirit which is noble, upright, steadfast and courageous in seeking peace through dialogue and negotiation.”
To close the ceremony, Pope Francis joined hands with this group of children to pray the Our Father and blessed two figures of Our Lady of Valme, which will be sent to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.