Peace march in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On Sunday, March 10, we participated in the Peaceful March for Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, organized by the Congolese Catholic community in Rome. The objective of the March was, besides being a gesture of solidarity with the Congolese people, also to denounce the atrocities taking place there and to cry out for peace as a right to be defended and protected, as Pope Francis repeats.

Video and opening photo: Jaime C. Patias, IMC, General Communication – Rome

The event began with the celebration of the Eucharist in different Congolese languages in the Church of the Nativity, during which prayers were said for all the victims of the violence that has been ravaging the country for years, but which has intensified in recent times.

We then went out through the streets of downtown Rome, with flags of the country and banners with messages of vindication for the intense exploitation of its natural resources by large economic corporations, recalling the same expression of Pope Francis “Hands off Congo”, when he visited the country in January 2023:

“Do not touch the Democratic Republic of Congo, do not touch Africa” is the pressing appeal made by Francis in his first speech in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Pope asked to stop suffocating the continent, and appealed for Africa, “smile and hope of the world” to have more weight and representation among nations. (click here)

The Haitian Ambassador to the Holy See was present at the march. Although the situation in this country seems different, it is not so different. With his presence in solidarity with the Congolese people, the ambassador made his presence known to his people, who are also going through a chaotic moment of violence and dramatic political, social and economic disintegration. And this, in the face of indifference on the part of those who could intervene to reverse this situation.

We walked together to St. Peter’s Square, where we participated, with many other people and groups, in the Angelus prayer with Pope Francis.

We, as Vedruna, join this manifestation of voices, in solidarity with so many victims of the violence and oppression that the country is experiencing, denouncing the international indifference to the great and long suffering of the Congolese people. And also of commitment, with our Vedruna communities in the country, for a better future for the people, of peace, justice and social fraternity.

Accompanying this March made us feel the strength of all those who have already died for this cause. Those of us present were united with the great population that desires peace and that every day conquers it by overcoming fear, earning their livelihood with precarious means, contributing in this way to make the little ones grow, to support one another, always with the simple joy of the Gospel.

Justi Sarmiento, Mª Teresa Cuervo, Mª José Meira