2017 Focus: Peace in Colombia

At the request of the Master of the Order of Preachers, The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are participating in a new global effort designating Dec. 1-January an annual time for prayer and action for peace in a country where Dominicans minister. This year the focus is on Colombia, where Dominicans have served since the sixteenth century.

In a letter addressed to Dominicans worldwide, Father Bruno Cadore, OP, proposed the initiative as a way for Dominican women and men to renew our commitment to preach as “advocates of peace in a world torn apart by many forms of violence and war.”

The Springfield Dominican Sisters’ observances are coordinated by Sister Marcelline Koch, OP, who is the promoter of justice for the congregation and is serving her second term as a co-promoter of justice for North America, representing the U.S. and Canada at international gatherings of Dominican justice promoters.

Sister Marcelline says that the focus on Colombia this year will help “strengthen the Colombian Dominican family’s efforts to support the implementation of the peace accord, and add our voices to the call that this new and complete agreement hold.”

One of the two revolutionary groups at war with the Colombian government declared a cease fire just two days before Pope Francis visited the country in September. This second cease-fire, ending 50 years of fighting, is believed to have happened in honor of Pope Francis’ visit.

Dominican brothers and sisters in Colombia have been engaged with peace efforts during the most difficult periods of the war in their nation. They are hopeful about the peace accord and asked for a show of solidarity from their Dominican sisters and brothers around the world. Their request was the inspiration for this Dominican Month for Peace, Father Bruno said.

Observances by the Springfield Dominicans will include special prayers for Colombia at mass this weekend, the first Sunday of Advent, and opportunities for the sisters to learn more about the people of Colombia through Colombian friends of the community.

A community workshop in Cataumbo, Colombia.

A community workshop in Cataumbo, Colombia.

“Our friends who would like to join are encouraged to add a prayer for Colombia to their daily prayer throughout the month,” Sister Marcelline said. Those prayers are listed below.

In his letter requesting the month of Prayer for Peace Father Bruno said the initiative is a way to continue the commitment to preach for justice that was an outcome of the 800th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Dominicans, formally called the Order of Preachers, by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216. Father Bruno said he chose December because it encompasses the liturgical season of Advent—the four weeks preceding Christmas—and the first week of the Christmas season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The month of prayer concludes on the Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, January 1.

Be in solidarity with Dominicans throughout the world by adding these or similar prayers to your daily prayer throughout December. Thank you.

For the citizens of Colombia for strength and courage in their efforts to move forward the peace effort in their country.
For Colombian government officials, that they listen to the people, incorporate their ideas into development plans, see just solutions, and protect the rights of vulnerable communities.
For our Dominican brothers and sisters and other church leaders as they walk with faith, lead communities in reconciliation, work to rebuild trust, and promote the common good.
For the youth of Colombia, that the peace effort promote stability in their lives, rebuild family unity, and allow young people to flourish through educational efforts.