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AMERICA/GUATEMALA - Bishops for Lent: the courage of conversion following the example of martyrs

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Posted on: 02/13/18
Guatemala City - Concern but also hope, in the Lenten message of the Guatemalan Episcopal Conference released at the end of the annual assembly. "Open crime", which "spreads like an epidemic in an increasing number of areas of the country", sows terror among the inhabitants and condemns many small businessmen and traders who have to pay protection money or abandon their activities. The "generalized corruption" in the sectors of politics and society bound to crime are the "perverse dynamics" that worry the Bishops as it leads the country to wander anxiously "without course".
"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart'" they repeat with the psalmist . However, Lent, "the time of conversion of the heart towards the project of the Kingdom announced by Jesus, is undoubtedly a kairós, a favorable moment", that the Pastors invite to live intensely, allowing themselves to be led by psalm 15.
First of all, those who have public responsibilities of various kinds - even if no one is excluded -, are "called to live righteously". "We are all called to announce the truth and to love it", they underline. As a remedy to the ills of the Country, they invite to be "witnesses of the truth" following the example of compatriots who "suffered persecution, torture and even death for their fidelity to Jesus Christ". And the martyrs of El Quiché, the Servant of God Fr. Hermógenes López, Mgr. Juan Gerardi - murdered after the publication of the dossier "Guatemala" Nunca mas" on the violation of human rights during the military dictatorship - and Blessed Stanley Rother, as well as many men and women "unknown or almost, who fertilized the Guatemalan land with their loyalty", which they define as "the land of martyrs".
The consolidation of the commitment to justice and solidarity, the National Missionary Congress in November and the preparation for WYD in Panama are goals and paths on which the Bishops wish the Church in Guatemala to concentrate, together with the work of "renewal", so that parishes become ever more "merciful and Samaritan communities". Before entrusting everyone to Our Lady of the Rosary, patron of Guatemala, the CEG gives thanks to God for "so many good people who struggle and strive, amid afflictions and distress".
"Our people - the Bishops say - evidently possess a faith that sustains its ethics and its consequent decisions for the good". Gratitude is expressed for the "many missionary and evangelizing projects that help us to be more and more a Church that goes forth".


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