The Master of the Dominican Order (Bruno Cadoré,OP) has proposed that every December be celebrated as a Dominican Month for Peace. This is an attempt to focus the prayer, study, ministry, donations, and Advent reflections of the entire Dominican family, which is a global organization with priests, nuns, brothers, sisters, and lay people, on a specific location suffering serious violence. This year Friar Bruno has chosen the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Bruno writes: “The people of this country (DRC) have been living through decades of devastating wars with ongoing massacres and human rights violations perpetrated by government forces and scores of opposing armed groups who, along with many foreign powers and companies, are scrambling to extract the rich natural resources of the country”.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a land rich in resources and yet it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unjust systems and violence keep the people (and particularly the children) poor, exploited, and violated. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) testified that “in 2017, violations against children reached alarming proportions”.
The Dominican Center: Spirituality for Mission will participate in this Advent focus of peace. As we pray in preparation for Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born poor, that he preached love, that he washed the disciples’ feet, and that he forgave his enemies rather than perpetuate violence. All people of faith must stay vigilant and not accept the current heretical premise that violence can be lessened by greater violence. Peacemaking is the more powerful and generative response.
Karen Rossman, OP