(Crux) Pope Francis has a packed schedule for his Sept. 6-11 visit to Colombia, but Friday brought the one event he was looking forward to above all: A prayer service for national reconciliation with some 6,000 people, some victims of the country’s long-running civil war, and some, including former guerillas and military members, perpetrators of that violence.
“I have been looking forward to this moment since my arrival in your country,” he said, opening his remarks on Friday afternoon, at the Las Malocas Park.
During the Great Prayer Meeting for National Reconciliation, the pope urged Colombians to place their suffering at the feet of Jesus Crucified, “so that united to his suffering, it may be transformed into blessing and forgiveness so as to break the cycle of violence that has reigned over Colombia.”
Referencing words shared with the pope by a Colombian named Pastora Mira García, a victim of the violence, Francis said: “Violence leads to more violence, hatred to more hatred, death to more death. We must break this cycle!” [More]