By Linda Bordoni
Addressed to the “Dear members of God’s family”, a letter signed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam, gives thanks to God for the just signed declaration between the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and appeals to all believers to join in elevating “special and intense prayers” for a just and lasting peace.
The peace declaration came during a meeting between the two countries' leaders in Eritrea's capital, Asmara last week.
The summit marked the first time the Eritrean president and the Ethiopian prime minister had met in nearly two decades after the countries had been locked in a border conflict between 1998 and 2000 that resulted in years of tension.
“As we all know, the bishops write, the echoes of peace that we have been longing for for so many years are resonating, infusing us with joy and courage”.
First of all, they continue, we must thank the Lord and then all those who are committed “operators of peace”, but, they point out, side by side with giving thanks, “constant prayer and imploration are needed”.
Thus, the bishops say, from 8 July to 6 August, we have asked that in all parishes, churches, chapels, convents and monasteries of our Eparchies, special prayers be elevated.
The bishops reveal they have requested that all parish priests and religious superiors make sure their dispositions be put into place.
They also reflect on how it is necessary to “clothe oneself in sentiments of rectitude, justice, forgiveness, flexibility” and above all to embrace a “true and authentic spirit of reconciliation and mercy” to be able to conquer peace.
“Therefore, in order for our just begun journey of peace to be effective, fruitful and above all just and orientated towards the common good of both of our peoples, we exhort you, they continue, not only to pray, but also to organize events during which to reflect on the themes of justice, peace and reconciliation.”
The bishops conclude their letter pointing out that all of this must be carried out with the Word of God and with relevant Church documents as the foundation.