Archbishop Robert Rivas OP, in his reflection inspired by the Day of Prayer, Fasting and March for Peace and Non-Violence August 1, said that the Archdiocese of Castries and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal will work together to build a culture of peace. This, he said, places the Church on the frontline of engaging in social issues that affect the lives of people.
“It is also a way of witnessing to gospel values in a milieu of conflict and violence as well as in a culture that disrespects life and disregards human dignity,” the archbishop told Catholic News via email.
Commenting on this year’s theme Blessed are the peacemakers (Mt 5:9), Archbishop Rivas said that in families, communities and nations “we need peacemakers”. Anyone who considers himself or herself a son or daughter of God is called to be a peacemaker, he said.
The archbishop referred to James 3:18 “peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness”, adding that building a culture of peace and non-violence requires artisans of peace, peacemakers who are continually sowing seeds of peace and non-violence. “If we sow peace we will reap peace,” he said.
Last year, the march took place in north Castries. This year, it occurred in the south in Vieux Fort. “We marched through some areas that have experienced violent crimes. Some of the victims we buried were from our churches. Our Church leaders pleaded for mercy, forgiveness and healing. Every stop along the way was a prayer stop with a message of peace to those who live in that particular neighbourhood. While we marched there were those at home who were praying and fasting for peace,” Archbishop Rivas said.
He mentioned that while the number of participants was fewer in the south than in the north, the number of young people who participated was significant. Their presence, he observed, displayed a desire for peace and suggested collaboration to build a culture of peace. “There is hope for St Lucia,” he said.