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During May we pray, “That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.”
Examples of apartheid, genocide, wars and tribal conflict offer a testimony for reconciliation as a prophetic witness of peace.
Uganda is one example. Peter is a school principal in Gulu. In the science room of his school, surrounded by beakers and Bunsen burners he explained that as a child, attending this same school, he was captured by the rebel army to be trained as a child solider. In his recalling of events he detailed his determination to learn.
When a group member enquired about his feelings towards the rebels, he said, “They were blind, didn’t know what they were doing, many of them children, some of them people I know and see now in Gulu. Anger and revenge will not achieve anything; patience with each other leads to peace”.
May we add to the Pope’s intention that we recognise and protect, in our relationships, personal, economic and political, the efforts in many African countries towards reconciliation, justice and peace. This is what the Pope Calls ‘prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice and peace’; it is also a work of mercy.
Brid Dunne works with the Irish Jesuit Mission office.