Giving Hope in Nigeria

Friederike and George from the Focolare community in Nigeria write: We are finally able to write, firstly to thank everyone for the prayers that are supporting us at this critical moment for our land.”

The double bombings in Abuja – in a very populated spot that many of us wallk through  every day – and the kidnappings of the students in Borno have caused a wave of suffering and desperation among the Nigerian people. Reactions vary: fear, resignation, anger, revenge. . .”

But the witness we want to give speaks of peace: “We share the sufferings of the families of the many victims, trying to stay rooted in the present moment remembering that universal brotherhood is the only path to peace.”

“It was a providential coincidence that in the midst of this confusion, United World Week was just about to begin.” At this time every year  the Young People for a United World go public with visible activities that make as many people as possible think about peace and solidarity. This year they presented the World Atlas of Fraternity.

Friederike and George tell us that in Nigeria: “Young people and other members of the local Focolare community programmed several activities both in Onitsha, Abuja and Jos. But on the day after the second bombing, we met with the community of Abuja and discussed whether or not to continue with preparations for United World Week. We unanimously agreed that now more than ever was the time to live for peace and offer hope!”

On March 14, 2014, 80 Muslims and Christians gathered in Millenium Park, Abuja, for a day focusing on “Welcoming and Brotherhood”. At noontime we paused for Time Out: a moment of prayer for peace.

That same week in Onitsha young people held a work day in an orphanage, and another day cleaning the areas around the public market. They also invited everyone to attend the final day’s events.

They write: “All of us members of the Focolare are committed with renewed faith to the Time Out For Peace ; we have a plan to send an SMS to each other at 11:55 every day. Every week we send an SMS to thousands of people from several areas of the country, with a slogan that invites us to live for peace. This is one small way to help turn public opinion towards a culture of respect for others.”

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