In view of the dramatic situation in the Central African Republic, the Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” is issuing an invitation to take part in an international Day of Prayer for Peace. The initiative came from the Discalced Carmelites in the Ligurian province of Italy, who have five missions in the Central African Republic. It is intended that religious communities and “all believers of good will” in the world take part.
On Sunday 21, July Holy Mass will be celebrated for this cause in many churches in Italy, Central Africa and numerous other countries in communion with the mission in the Central African Republic.”The aim is to ask God to grant peace in the Central African Republic, where the Catholic Church suffers from the desecration of places of worship, robbery and looting in the parishes, missions, schools and health centres,”, as Father Davide Sollami explained to “Aid to the Church in Need”. For several months now a veritable “prayer marathon” had already been in progress in the Carmelite community of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, he added.
Father Sollami reported: “The missionaries living in the Central African Republic have learned that the population loves them. Nobody has betrayed the members of the religious communities to the rebels. Since the war the churches have been getting steadily fuller and more and more people are coming to pray. If we all act together our prayer will rise to God like a chorus and there will be between us a day of community which we who work for His Peace wish to be.”
Christine du Coudray, the Head of the Africa Section of “Aid to the Church in Need”, explained: “When politicians seem to be deaf to all appeals to reason, we Christians believe that our distress and our cry will be heard by the Virgin Mary and her Son. We are taking part in this Day of Prayer for the Central African Republic with infinite trust and we invite everyone to join us. Deus semper maior (God is always greater)!”
Christine Coudray went on to say that, since the Séléka rebels seized power on 24 March of this year, the Central African Republic had descended further and further into chaos. Church institutions in particular had had to suffer from lootings and attacks by the rebels. There had repeatedly been reports from Church circles that a growing islamization of the country was evident.
“Aid to the Church in Need” recently granted the Catholic Church in the Central African Republic further emergency aid to the tune of $218,438.00.