Pope: Pray for These Countries
Pope Francis has asked the world to pray for four countries during the month of April. They are:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
Why Do These Countries Need Your Prayers?
Why is the Pope asking you to pray specifically for these countries? Let’s take a look:
A landslide struck the south-western province of Putumayo, killing over 250 people and injuring hundreds more.
Read this BBC article featuring photos and video from the disaster.
Political instability has lead to uprisings, many violent. Over 400 people have been killed and 200,000 displaced since August.
The political situation in Venezuela has been deteriorating for a while now. The president, accused of creating a dictatorship, has delayed elections and called in armed forces against protestors. Between that and the country’s Supreme Court recently dissolving the parliament and assuming its powers, protests have ramped up even more. Add to all that widespread food shortages and out-of-control inflation, and you begin to get a picture of what’s been happening in Venezuela.
This CNN article (featuring a quick explainer video) gives a good overview as a primer to recent protests and riots.
This Guardian Explainer Video (from a year ago!) shows how the situation has been bad for a while now:
The senate approved a bill for a constitutional amendment allowing the President, Horacio Cartes, to run for re-election. After the fall of a dictator in 1992, presidents have been limited to one-term in office. In response, people have taken to the streets in protests and riots.
This Guardian Explainer Video:
Local Bishops called for peace, as did Pope Francis. On April 17th, Horacio Cartes wrote a letter to Archbishop Edmundo Ponziano Valenzuela (and shared on Twitter) stating he is no longer seeking reelection.
Porque el Paraguay siempre está primero! pic.twitter.com/ozoxuCPiB1
— Horacio_Cartes (@Horacio_Cartes) April 17, 2017
How You Can Respond
You can pray however you like—a Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be for the Pope’s intentions is a traditional practice—but if you’d like a few more options, keep reading:
- St. John Paul II’s Prayer for Peace
- St. John XXII’s Prayer for Peace
- A Prayer for Those Who Have Died Unexpectedly
- Lectio Divina (external links)
Praying is the best and most effective way to bring about supernatural change in the world. If you’d like to get your hands dirty with other actions in addition to prayer, here are some things you might like to try:
St. John Paul II’s Prayer for Peace [back to prayer list]
O God, Creator of the universe,
who extends your paternal concern over every creature
and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation,
we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and,
in a world torn by strife and discord,
you make us ready for reconciliation.
Renew for us the wonders of your mercy;
send forth your Spirit that he may work in the intimacy of hearts,
that enemies may begin to dialogue,
that adversaries may shake hands
and peoples may encounter one another in harmony.
May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments,
for charity which overcomes hatred,
for pardon which disarms revenge.
St. John XXIII’s Prayer for Peace
Lord Jesus Christ,
who are called the Prince of Peace,
who are yourself our peace and reconciliation,
who so often said, “Peace to you,” grant us peace.
Make all men and women
witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love.
Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace.
Enlighten our rulers
that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters.
May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all.
A Prayer for Those Who Have Died Unexpectedly
Most Holy and Heavenly Father,
we are saddened by all the suffering
caused by the many catastrophes
which occur daily around the world.
Lord, have mercy on us all, and give faith
to those suffering, hurting, and in fear.
Please welcome into your kingdom
all those who have died through acts of
violence, terror, or disasters.
Grant unto them, O Lord, your forgiveness,
so they may enter into everlasting happiness,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all your saints.
In Jesus’ Holy Name, we pray.
Colombia Landslide: Dozens of Children Among the Dead | BBC
Bodies of Two UN Investigators Found in Congo Village | The Guardian
‘We’ve Had Enough’: Kinshasa Holds Its Breath Amid Talks to End Violence | The Guardian
Dozens Die in Democratic Republic of Congo as violence spreads amid political instability | The Guardian
Congolese militia decapitates more than 40 policemen as violence grows | The Guardian
Archive of Articles about the Democratic Republic of Congo | The Guardian
Ahead of huge protests in Venezuela, here’s what you need to know | CNN
Blackouts, looting and murder: Venezuelas’s state of emergency – video explainer | The Guardian
What Happened in Paruguay? – video report | The Guardian
Bishops of Paraguay call for peace after riots, fire at Confess building | Angelus
Paraguay president says will not run in 2018 election | Reuters
Tweet with Letter to the Archbishop | @Horacio_Cartes on Twitter
Prayers for Peace | USCCB
The Pope’s Monthly Intentions | The Apostleship of Prayer
Photo: Korea_Pope_Francis_Solmoe_Shrine_14 | The Republic of Korea via flickr
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