The following is a joint request from His Eminence, Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand, and Archbishop Philip Richardson, joint leader of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We write to you to add our voices to those around the world who are responding to the call from Pope Francis for a day of prayer and fasting for peace for the peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
We strongly encourage Catholics and Anglicans throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to join with others around the world in this growing movement of concern.
There are so many needs across God’s world that it is easy to become overwhelmed or to become immune to the cries of the suffering.
To draw our own focus and the attention of the world to two places of great need is worthy of our time and our solidarity.
Please join with us on the 23rd of February in prayer and fasting.
From Pope Francis:
Faced with the tragic continuation of conflict in several parts of the world, I invite all faithful to a special Day of prayer and fasting for peace on this coming 23 February, Friday of the First Week of Lent. We will offer this in particular to the populations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of South Sudan. As on other similar occasions, I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to participate in this initiative in the ways they consider most appropriate, but all together. Our heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry to Him in pain and in anguish; "He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds (Psalm 147, 3). I address a heartfelt appeal that we too hear this cry and, each person in his or her own conscience, before God, let us ask ourselves, "What can I do for peace?". Certainly we can pray, but not only this: each person can say a concrete "no" to violence, as far as it depends on him or her. Because the victories obtained with violence are false victories: whereas working for peace is good/or all!