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Call for Fasting Prayer for South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo
Monday, February 26, 2018, 15:08 (IST)
Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer and fasting for South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo on 23 February in response to the ongoing social-political tension and violence in the two nations.
According to World Council of Churches (WCC), which welcomed pope's call, 4.3 million people are displaced the DRC and 13.1 million people will be in need of humanitarian aid this year.
In South Sudan, 2 million people have fled the young nation as refugees during the last four years of war, and about 1.9 million people are internally displaced. Of the remaining population of the country, 7 million people need humanitarian assistance.
Following pope's call for a day of prayer and fasting, WCC has urged the churches to observe the day.
In a letter, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that children, young men, and women have been among the most affected.
"Millions of women and girls are exposed to gender-based violence in these crisis-affected areas," he wrote.
"We acknowledge the courageous and hopeful work that carries on each day to serve the people in need," he added.
Christians, together with those belonging to other faiths, may join this initiative in the forms they deem to be appropriate, said Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in a letter to Tveit.
"The prayer of all Christians on that day for the gift of peace would be an authentic sign of solidarity and closeness to those suffering in these nations and above all to the many Christians from different churches who live there, and moreover would be a tangible step in the shared witness to the Gospel of peace, of which the world is in such need," he added.