The XXXV Week for Peace: Territories on the Move for Peace! | Episcopal Conference of Colombia

By: P. Rafael Castillo Torres – From September 4 to 11, Colombians celebrate the Week for Peace, as a setting for multiple meetings and at multiple levels in which territorial social mobilization will make visible those processes and efforts of people, organizations and communities that work for the achievement of peace, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the construction of initiatives that dignify life.

There is no doubt that Colombia is experiencing moments of hope in the midst of the expectations that have been generated with the new government, our greatest hope being, in this transition of the Nation, the generation of certain conditions for reconciliation and peace with the help of all the actors who believe that although the Homeland is a gift… the Nation is a task.

The missionary disciples, followers of Jesus, are called, throughout the month of September and in a very special way in the framework of the Week for Peace, to celebrate, from our spirituality, cultural identities, community knowledge and territorial processes the culture of I find that allows us to bring shores closer and build bridges of civility that can be walked, confidently, in both directions. Isn’t this the best way to grow in synodality as a way of life in the permanent search for peace and reconciliation?

In this effort, several decades ago, to celebrate the Week for Peace, our purpose has been none other than to answer an essential question: How can we live well being together in our territories and each one bearing fruit, with his family, where God planted us? It is in the community where all the knowledge that should serve personal, community and social happiness is located.

This week for peace has as its motto: “Territories in movement for peace- recognizing, resignifying and vindicating”. It is a motto that invites us to recognize that Colombia is a country of regions in which there is not only a land as a geographical space, but also a territory that is its human geography with all its shared values ​​and also some territorialities that are that framework. of relationships and agreements that frame their identities and their cultural ethos.

Territories in movement fundamentally means that, from the word that brings us together, we are going to deliberate, among all of us, the region that we dream of and the Colombia that we want. It will be a reflection together on that set of values ​​that fill us with meaning, but also on those institutions for social coexistence and the construction of collective well-being.

From deep Colombia, which Pope Francis calls existential peripheries, the greatest cry that rises to the center of the Nation is the care of its people. Taking care of his People is the supreme political value that every president and his government are called to respect. It is the function of the State to take care of the lives and livelihoods of citizens, which goes beyond the economy; also care for justice in these contexts of corruption and impunity, as well as participation and due attention to the needs of citizens in the different instances of their personal, community and social life. Mobilizing territories is recognizing that our Colombian society will not be able to grow in humanity on the lack of care, justice and equality. And all this because justice and care have been scarce goods in our Nation’s history. A careless and unjust society will always be violent, it will produce violence and it will suffer violence.

Our hope is that during this week we give ourselves the opportunity to recognize that Colombia needs generosity, cooperation and dialogue, free communication. In a word, the values ​​that build friendship and social brotherhood. (Fratelli Tutti #66).

Let us value that today we are a Nation that breathes airs of hope. And it does so from its social movements of young people and women, from peasants and artisans of life, from its popular communicators who increasingly democratize the word, from the workers and from the companies that open themselves to the new genius of being a community of people. We want to live the social and solidarity as a new paradigm that points us to a north. We only have one dilemma: reinforce the new hopeful paradigm or run the risk that the worst becomes possible, and the possible, probable.

To those of us who profess a faith and consider ourselves disciples and missionaries of Jesus, we invite you, within the framework of this Week for Peace, to recognize that water springs up with greater force when it comes from the depths, which means that we must do everything with spirituality. We want to invite each family, small community, parish, Pastoral Area or Vicariate, religious movement, religious congregation to sign this manifesto that we propose inspired by the Word of God, which is light for our steps, during this Week for Peace. . In the first place, we are going to reflect on it and meditate until we appropriate it. Then, in a symbolic act, we are all going to sign it as a sign of commitment before God, before the community and as a sign of Hope for a believing Nation that trusts and hopes in its Lord.

Manifesto for Peace and Coexistence

1. We will rejoice with those who rejoice and we will cry with those who cry. (Rom. 12,15).

2. We will agree so that there are no divisions between us and thus we can live in perfect harmony. (1 Cor. 1,10).

3. We will make our conversations pleasant and in good taste, knowing how to treat each one (Col. 4,6).

4. We are not going to bite, much less devour, so as not to destroy each other. (Gal. 5,15).

5. We will help each other to carry the loads, thus fulfilling Jesus’ mandate of solidarity. (Gal. 6,2).

6. We will support each other with charity. Trying to preserve the unity of the Spirit, through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4,2-3).

7. We promise not to utter words that do not edify. We will avoid bitterness, outbursts, anger, shouting, insults and all kinds of evil (Eph. 4,29-31).

8. We will consider others as superior to ourselves. We will not seek our own interest but the interest of others. (Phil. 2,3-4).

9. None of us will pretend to repay evil for evil. We will strive to always do good. We will always be happy and we will pray tirelessly (1Thess. 5,15-17).

10. We will avoid meaningless questions: we are convinced that they only bring big altercations. As servants of God we will try to be kind to everyone. (2 Tim. 2,23-24).

After the proclamation of the manifesto and before its signing, each and every one of us will make this plea in every family and community corner:

“Lord, lead me from death to life and from falsehood to truth. Take me from despair to hope and from fear to trust. Take me from hate to love and from war to peace. Allow, sir, that peace fill our hearts, our families, our communities and all of Colombia. Amen.

Father Rafael Castillo Torres
Director of the National Secretariat for Social Pastoral Care – Colombian Caritas

The XXXV Week for Peace: Territories on the Move for Peace! | Episcopal Conference of Colombia