(Vatican Radio) Colombians are looking not just for peace – a word which can have political connotations – but also for reconciliation as Pope Francis visits the country this week.
That was the message of Father Mauricio Urbina, a priest of the Archdiocese of Bogotà, an assistant to Cardinal Rubén Salazar and pastor of a parish in the nation’s capital.
“Colombia has been a country that has suffered from different… fractures, we can say, along its history, so reconciliation inside the families, and even inside the same church, is very important for us, and I would hope would be the main topic,” said Fr Urbina, speaking with Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni.
Asked about the Pope’s message for priests and religious, which the Holy Father will give on Saturday in the city of Medellín, Fr Urbina said he thought the Church in Colombia has been heading in the direction already pointed out by Pope Francis: Going out of the sacristies, going out of “our own places, our own houses, of our own, also, mental ideas” to evangelize the many Colombians who are waiting for the Gospel. He said he would “receive and hope for” a word in that sense.”
With the world’s attention focused on Colombia, Fr Urbina said he hoped Colombia would be seen as a “place where we can reconcile [with] each other.” Referring to the theme of the Apostolic Visit – “Let us take the first step” – he emphasized that the first step is “toward Christ.” Colombians, he said, “are taking the first step, not towards violence, not towards division, but towards unity, towards making a new reality out of this country that has suffered so much for so many years.”
Father Urbina noted the importance of hearing the voices of the victims of decades old conflict, especially during a meeting with the Holy Father at Villavicencio on Friday. He said it is important to hear the voices of the victims themselves, but also to have their voices heard through the Pope. It is important, he said, to see how Colombians have suffered – but also to see how they are willing to be reconciled to one another.
Listen to the full interview of Father Mauricio Urbina with Linda Bordoni: