Catholic archbishop aids Muslim refugees in Central African Republic

Displaced persons in the Central African Republic received aid from CRS in May 2014. Credit:Kim Pozniak/Catholic Relief Services.:

A Catholic archbishop in the violence-ridden Central African Republic recently reached out to a group of 600 Muslim refugees, saying that the love of Christ must drive the faithful to action.

“The flight of Muslims from central Africa is a grave problem. If we do not want them to associate Christians with those who have caused them harm, they need to be helped by Christians,” Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui said. “We have to act quickly if we do not want our coexistence to become merely an illusion.”

In statements to the French daily “La Croix,” Archbishop Nzapalainga referenced his recent visit to 600 Muslims camped at Yaloke, a city located 100 kilometers from the capital of the Central African Republic, Fides News Agency reported.

Since December 2012, the Central African Republic has been torn apart by violence, killing thousands, displacing an estimated 1.1 million persons and leaving millions more without an assurance of food or safety.

The fighting began when Seleka rebels, comprised mostly of Muslim fighters from other countries, began to carry out acts of terrorism and violence, with individuals continuing to loot, rape and murder even after the Seleka disbanded. Then, in September 2013, “anti-balaka” self-defense groups, many comprised of Christians, began to strike back, attacking Muslims in revenge for earlier acts of violence.

In response to the continued violence and conflict that now divides political, tribal, and religious groups in the country, the African Union has deployed 5,000 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic, and the United Nations has also pledged an additional 12,000 troops by the end of 2014.

Archbishop Nzapalainga personally drove his van as part of a convoy of humanitarian aid organized by the Catholic Church to help the 600 refugees at Yaloke. A delegation of religious leaders led by the Iman of Bangui, Oumar Kobine Layama, accompanied him.

Another car in the convoy was driven by Sister Julietta, a South Korean religious from the Congregation of Saint-Paul de Chartres who directs the Our Lady of Fatima Healthcare Center in Bangui. She was accompanied by two nurses.

During his visit, Archbishop Nzapalainga sought to bring calm to the refugees. “I am here with the Iman I welcomed into my home for five months. It's not enough to say, 'We have to live together.' Rather, we must translate these words into concrete actions.”

Upon his departure, the archbishop pledged he would return to visit soon.

“We will not abandon you,” he told them.


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June 26, 2016

  • Sunday, June 26

    St John Eudes Adult Choir annual 'Summer Concert Under the Stars', 6:30 p.m., St. John Eudes, 9901 Mason Ave., Chatsworth. Featuring The Rose Palmer Trio musicians. Theme: 'Neighbor to Neighbor' .  Please bring a picnic meal if you wish.  Tickets available at the door: Adults $10; Children 12 and under $5. For info please call Mary (818) 346-0927.

     

    Year of Mercy Mass in The Shrine of St. John Paul II, 3 p.m., Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, 3424 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles.  Divine Mercy Chaplet and Mass celebrated in KOREAN with Fr. Robert Dae-je Choi, SJ, Pastor of St. Agnes Korean Catholic Church.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession following Mass. Closing prayer will be a blessing and veneration of the first class relic of St. John Paul II. 

     

    “In the Garden”Art & Music Fair, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.,Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Road, Rancho Palo Verde. Local artists creating, displaying & selling work in gardens. The Taiko Effect Drummers, South Bay Coastliners Barbershop Chorus, South Bay Strummers ukelele band, Logan & Randall’s Folk Band. Ticket includes homemade strawberry shortcake, lemonade & iced tea. Reservations: Irma (310) 377-4867 ext 234. Cost: $10. Order box lunch a week ahead of the event for $12 each. Choices: Chicken Salad, Tri-tip or Vegetarian; includes Salad, Fruit, Chips, a Cookie & Water.

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