"Peace efforts give us hope" - Bishop Raayappu Joseph

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 January 2001, 08:31 GMT]
"Even though the path towards peace is fraught with obstacles, it is everyone's duty to take careful steps towards achieving peace. Statesmanship, courage, patience and unrelenting focus to reach an amicable solution amidst resistance from extremists, are qualities people are expecting to see in both Leaders," said Mannar Bishop Raayappu Joseph in his millenium message to the nation.

Full text of his message follows:

"The third millenium has arrived. Having suffered under the brutal war for the last 30 years, we are stepping into the dawn of the millenium carrying the worst burdens of the conflict.

"At this juncture, our hopes have been raised by the efforts underway to end war and to reach a political solution. We are encouraged by the open-minded approach adopted by the warring parties.

"Catholic Church believes that although people of our country come from multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious backgrounds, only an effort with the support of a third country, an effort rooted in equal rights for all citizens, and which recognizes the right to self-determination of the Tamil people living in North and East, will provide a firm foundation for a just and fair settlement that will lead to permanent and lasting peace.

"Even though the path towards peace is fraught with obstacles, it is everyone's duty to take careful steps towards achieving peace. Statesmanship, courage, patience and unrelenting focus to reach an amicable solution amidst resistance from extremists, are qualities people are expecting to see in both Leaders.

"Religious and Social leaders of our country, and all decent men and women are being called to join hands and engage in the noble duty to create amity and harmony between the Tamil and Sinhala communities. All Christians should seize this moment and rise above the racial divide to work towards this honorable goal.

"At the dawn of this new millenium let us surrender our country to Virgin Mary for her grace and protection, and pray for her divine support in rendering peace.

"Let all church and temple bells ring, and peace candles be lit. Let us all pray for peace. People walking in the dark saw beacon of light. Let St.William's divine promise unfold as flames of light shine on the people of this country living in the shadow of death."

 

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