Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, February 11, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Holy Redeemer Open House 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
CRS praises local interfaith peace efforts in Central African Republic
Catholic News Service


A Catholic aid representative praised local peace and reconciliation initiatives in the Central African Republic but warned that the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers could be planned too late to prevent disaster.

"What religious leaders are doing is commendable and honorable, but it's even more impressive to see the grass-roots efforts now underway," said Kim Pozniak, communications officer for Catholic Relief Services in sub-Saharan Africa.

"When the leaders came together to mobilize for peace, local people did the same, forming groups and taking their own initiatives. Such work from the ground up is what's really needed here," she told Catholic News Service May 2 during a break while visiting the Baltimore-based agency's programs offering assistance to people displace by the 17-month conflict in Bangui, the country's capital, and elsewhere.

Pozniak said some areas of Bangui were relatively safe, with vendors on the streets and construction underway, but that other regions were witnessing regular violence.

Thousands of people have died and up to 1.5 million people have been displaced by violence since December 2012 when Arab-speaking Islamists, known as Seleka, began an offensive that resulted in the toppling of the government of President Francois Bozize. The Seleka coalition was declared dissolved in September and a new president was inaugurated in January, but clashes have continued with groups from a mostly Christian militia, known as Anti-Balaka, despite the deployment of 2,000 French and 5,000 African peacekeepers.

Pozniak described grim conditions in a Bangui displacement camp run by the Catholic Church's Justice and Peace Commission. She said she met a Christian woman with seven children who fled to the compound Christmas Day to escape violence in their neighborhood.

She described how the mother and her children, along with others, were sleeping on the floor and eating once daily. She said one young boy tugged her sleeve and "begged for something to eat" as she spoke with the woman.

"We're providing financial, technical and logistical support to our partners at the Commission and Caritas. But the situation is dire, and the local priest simply can't find resources for so many people," Pozniak said.

"The rainy season is now starting, and huge downpours are leaving camps and compounds inches deep in mud."

News reports said most of Bangui's 80,000 Muslim residents had fled attacks by Anti-Balaka groups seeking revenge for Seleka excesses, despite joint peace appeals by the Bangui Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kobine Layama.

However, Pozniak met a 24-year-old Muslim youth who remained in the community to help run a series of radio broadcasts and interreligious workshops, backed by CRS, that were aimed at promoting "social cohesion and reconciliation."

The young man and other peace workers had gained a "good reception" from Bangui's local communities but also risked attack by those seeking to stoke interfaith conflict, she said.

In addition, she explained, several Muslim women had been threatened with stoning if they did not abandon the work.

She said many factors are fueling the violence and that "some people are being manipulated into doing terrible things, especially young men with no economic prospects."

"Despite what's been reported in the Western media, this isn't a religious conflict. Christians and Muslims have been victims of both sides, and most people, whatever their faith, just want to live in peace," Pozniak said.

"It's true that those responsible for the violence have tried to steer it in a religious direction, and it looks this way from the outside. But most people here tolerate and respect religious differences."

Despite the religious tolerance, violence against religious leaders continued in Bossangoa in April. Father Christ Forman Wilibona was shot dead by remnants of the Seleka rebels on Good Friday and Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa and three parish priests were abducted April 16 while on a parish visit.

"I was taken to the colonel, who accused me of ruining his plan to regain Bossangoa and putting defamatory statements against him on the internet," Bishop Nongo-Aziagbia told the Vatican's Fides news agency April 24.

"The rebels removed my pectoral cross and episcopal ring. Then my three priests and I were brought to Sidot to be killed. ... But our convoy was stopped thanks to intervention by the international community and the commander of the local military area of Seleka, a general, who did not agree with the execution order," the bishop said.

Pozniak said she planned to visit a program in Bossangoa that distributes seeds and tools in local villages. Despite the program, she said she feared the planned deployment of 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers in September would be too late to safeguard the Central African Republic's crucial planting and harvest seasons.

"Many people are too afraid to work in their fields. If they don't plant now, there won't be a harvest and things will get much worse," the CRS officer said.

"This makes it paramount to scale up security efforts at an international level, so economic activity can resume." Hopes rise that pope, patriarch meeting renews Christian unity effort





Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
 
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search










Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved