by Linda Bordoni
The Catholic Bishops of the Central African Republic have launched an appeal to observe Sunday, 2 December 2018, as a “Day of Lamentation and Prayer” in memory of the many victims of violence in the nation.
1 December: Day of Mourning
In a communiqué the Bishops' Conference said the Church invites all "men and women of good will to refrain from celebrating 1 December as a sign of mourning."
1 December is a significant date for the country as it marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Republic after French colonial rule.
2 December: Day of Lamentation and Prayer
It also said the bishops have established 2 December as a "Day of Lamentation and Prayer” in memory of the victims in all the dioceses.
Thus, the communiqué added, all donations collected on the first Sunday of Advent will be destined to the survivors of the violence.
The appeal was launched during a press conference to which the political and administrative authorities, the diplomatic corps and representatives of national and international institutions, and media representatives were invited on Monday 26 November at the Archdiocese of Bangui “to shed light on the unacceptable and heinous crimes committed against the civilian population”.
Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, President of the Episcopal Conference launched the appeal which he said is a response to “the events that continue to happen.
“Following the unfortunate and repetitive events that have plunged Central African families into mourning since 2012, the most recent of which are those of Bangui, Bambari, Batangafo and Alindao, the Central African Bishops' Conference is holding its extraordinary session on 24 November 2018 and hereby issues this communiqué” he said.
Appeal to political leaders
He underlined the responsibility of political leaders by quoting Article 1 of the Constitution of the Central African Republic of 30 March 2016 that states: “The human person is sacred and inviolable. All public officials, all organizations, have an absolute obligation to respect and protect it”.
Pope Francis appealed for peace in the Central African Republic this month after dozens of people were killed during an attack on a refugee camp in Alindao.