Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - "The mission of reconciliation that we all want to take on and renew must be accompanied by a high dose of hope, and we lack this, as servants of our communities, but it is also lacking in our communities". These are the words delivered by Monsignor Luis José Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá and President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, in the concluding homily of the "IX National Congress of Reconciliation", celebrated from November 22 to 24 on the theme "Opening ways of dialogue and hope" (see Fides, 21/11/2022). The Archbishop warned of the possibility of losing hope in the absence of immediate results: "hope can be lost because sometimes we see more the negative than the positive. For many years we have been reflecting, praying, working, committing ourselves to the theme of peace and reconciliation and as the psalmist says, when we say peace, others cry out for war. It seems we have finished one phase of the war and started another and not just regionally and nationally, but internationally".
The Congress concluded with the missionary sending out to the approximately 450 participants in the event: each one set out with the commitment to be an "Artisan of Peace", to bring a message of reconciliation, peace and hope.
Father Rafael Castillo, director of the National Secretariat for Social Pastoral Care, at the end of the Congress underlined that hope is not a simple decision of personal will, nor is it a pure gift of God completely unrelated to personal responsibility, rather, it is a combination of both. He then invited "to look and take stock of the positive and the good that has happened, on the achievements that have been achieved" to take the next step. It is also important to take advantage of what history teaches and "strengthen yourself with the memory of the testimony of all those who, ordinary people like us, in situations similar to those in which we live today, were able to patiently wait for the winter floods to pass, without giving up to their beliefs". Finally, he urged us to keep in mind the nation project that young people are showing us with the various social sectors, and invited us to "not lose heart, because the signs of a new dawn are already beginning to emerge".
Meanwhile, peace talks between the Colombian government and the rebel ELN (National Liberation Army) group have resumed in Caracas, Venezuela. According to information gathered by Fides, the participating delegations expressed optimism about the ongoing dialogues, invited other nations to join the three guarantor countries of the peace agreements, which are Venezuela, Cuba and Norway, and asked the United States to be present in the work of a special envoy. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/11/2022)