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August 18, 2018

Pope opens Holy Door at Mass in Bangui cathedral

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Priests and religious, catechists and young people joined Pope Francis on Sunday evening for the celebration of Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Bangui, Central African Republic. During the ceremony, the Pope opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral for the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Jubilee Year officially begins on 8 December. In his homily at the Mass the Pope spoke of the Christian vocation to love our enemies, saying it protects us “from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation.”

On the penultimate day of his pastoral visit to Africa, the Pope symbolically inaugurated the Year of Mercy in the Central African Republic, calling on all those gathered outside the cathedral in Bangui to pray together for peace in their country and in all nations suffering from war and conflict. As he pushed open the wooden doors, the congregation cheered and sang before the Pope began the celebration of Mass for the first Sunday of Advent.

In his homily Pope Francis spoke of the need for forgiveness, saying those who evangelise must be first and foremost “practitioners of forgiveness, specialists in reconciliation, experts in mercy”.

In this country where men and women thirst for respect, justice and equality, the Pope said, God calls Christians to work for peace founded on justice. In every place, but especially where there is violence, hatred, injustice and persecution, he said, Christians are called to give witness to the God of love.

God is stronger than all the turmoil of our world, the Pope insisted, and this gives the believer serenity, courage and strength to persevere even amidst the greatest hardships.

Finally Pope Francis concluded his homily with an urgent appeal to all those who make unjust use of the weapons in our world to “lay down these instruments of death”.


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