By Fr. John Waters
The Catholic Bishops of Colombia invited both Catholics and non-Catholics alike to join in an initiative called “3 minutes for peace” on November 4th.
The general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Colombia, Monsignor Elkin Álvarez Botero, made the invitation on behalf of the Archbishop of Popayán, Monsignor Luis José Rueda Aparicio.
“We are going to ask the Lord with all devotion, convinced that he listens to us, so that violence, death, hatred, divisions and all kinds of violence may end in Cauca and throughout the country,” wrote Monsignor Botero, who also serves as the auxiliary Bishop of Medellin.
At 2pm, local time, all participants were invited to recite the prayer of St Francis of Assisi. They were to then give a round of applause for 1 minute, listen to the ringing of local church bells and finish by reciting the Angelus prayer.
Cauca, the south-western region of Colombia highlighted by the initiative, has been the site of much violence in recent months, most notably the killing of local social leaders and members of the local indigenous population. Most recently, 5 members of a group of indigenous people were killed on 30th October. Government forces stated that breakaway members of the militia group Farc, were responsible for the killings.