By ZENIT Staff

“The year of fraternity is an opportunity to heal wounds, grow in mutual trust, celebrate unity, starting at home, fraternize in neighborhoods and on the streets. It is a year to promote the culture of encounter, to be a people of brothers in school classrooms and in the media. Ecological conversion engages us in the care of the common home, asks us to change our predatory habits, asks us to be missionaries of human and environmental life.”

This is what the Archbishop of Popayán, Mgr. Luis José Rueda Aparicio writes in his pastoral message to the people of God published on January 1, in which he announces that the Year of Fraternity will mark the pastoral life of the diocese in 2020. The letter, reported by Fides News Agency, begins by quoting the prophet Isaiah – “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light …” (Is 9,1) – “These words fill us with hope at the beginning of the year 2020 – writes the Archbishop – they are motivating words to start a new year of life and work, they have the strength that comes from God to support us, to take us out of uncertainties and pessimism. We are convinced that this great light will lead us along paths of peace and brotherhood.”

Therefore Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio remembers that “Christ is the source and model of fraternity”, sent by the Father, always accompanies us on our journey, even if “in some moments of our life we are not fully aware of his presence”. The Church, people of God on the move, in the countryside and in the cities, walk “announcing the Good News, renewing hope with its permanent mission, building the civilization of love, celebrating redemptive brotherhood in the sacraments of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”.

In the wake of the path of the New Evangelization, the Archbishop urges the lay faithful to live their faith in small communities, in the style of the first Christian communities.

Mgr. Rueda Aparicio invites to cultivate fraternity in families, in workplaces, on the streets, in all environments: “we will learn the importance of dialogue” in all its aspects, enhancing listening to find solutions to problems, avoiding the polarizations that bring violence and exclusion, placing prayer as the foundation of fraternity. “Fraternity is first of all-seeing and feeling the other as a gift from God – explains the Archbishop. In this way, fraternity leads us to unity and forgiveness to overcome resentments. Fraternity helps us to be welcoming, pushes us to defend those who think differently from us, to overcome hatred and consolidate peace”.

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