BANGUI NOVEMBER 3, 2015 (CISA) – Pope Francis will jump start the Jubilee of Mercy by opening the diocese of Bangui’s Holy Door while in the Central African Republic (CAR), as a sign of prayer and solidarity for the war-torn nation.
“To manifest the prayerful closeness of the entire Church to this afflicted and tormented nation and to exhort all Central Africans to increasingly be witnesses of mercy and reconciliation, November 29, I plan to open the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Bangui,” announced the Pope on November 1.
Though the Jubilee for Mercy will officially begin on December 8, the Pontiff has decided to open the Holy Door in Bangui 10 days earlier, during his visit to Africa between November 25 – 30.
Pope Francis’ visit to CAR comes in the midst of an ongoing, violent conflict which began in 2013.Since then, fear; uncertainty and violence have swept over the country in a conflict that has so far left more than 6,000 people dead.
In his remarks after the Angelus, the Pontiff noted that recent episodes of violence “have tightened the delicate situation” in the CAR over the past few days, and are a source of “great concern”.
“I make an appeal to all parties involved to put an end to this circle of violence, which is so sorely tested, and make every effort to overcome divisions and return to the path of peace,” pleaded the pope.
The Holy Father, further offered his spiritual closeness to the Comboni Fathers of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui, where many refugees have fled.
The Pope assured his solidarity with the local Catholics, other religious confessions in the country and with the Central African nation as a whole.
After opening the Holy Door in Bangui, the Pope will open the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica when the jubilee officially begins on December 8.
Pope Francis announced the jubilee during a March 13 penitential service, the second anniversary of his papal election. It will open December 8 the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will close November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.