Hundreds of Nicaraguan Catholics attended on Wednesday the traditional procession of January 1, to cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ for peace and dialogue in Nicaragua, a country plunged into a deep socio-political crisis since April 2018.
“The world does not need empty words, but convinced witnesses, artisans of peace, open to dialogue without exclusion or manipulation,” said the archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, citing Pope Francis with his message for the 53rd World Day peace.
“(That message of the Pope) is very close to us and our problems,” Brenes said, when officiating the first Eucharist of the year, after finishing the pilgrimage in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua
The pilgrimage led by the archbishop, who carried the Blessed Sacrament, departed from the Cristo Rey School, on the southern periphery, accompanied by hundreds of parishioners who raised flags of the Catholic Church and Nicaragua, with the shield inverted, a symbol that opposition protesters have adopted as a sign of help and mourning in the country.
On this occasion, the traditional route was modified by “security,” while being guarded by a strong police presence, Efe said.
During the journey, on a sunny afternoon and cool atmosphere, believers prayed for peace in Nicaragua and eradicate hatred and divisions.
Those who attended the procession, raised handkerchiefs, also chanted alive Pope Francis, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Christ the King and the religious authorities of Nicaragua.
The procession of the Catholics of Managua, which was also attended by delegations from different municipalities of the country, has been carried out for several decades to ask for peace in Nicaragua and in the world.
The traditional demonstration of faith is attended by the priests of the temples throughout the Archdiocese of Managua.
On January 1, 2019, the Catholic Church of Nicaragua canceled its traditional procession for security reasons.
Since July 2018, Ortega has insisted on calling the members of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua “coup”, which has motivated his followers to attack priests and desecrate Catholic temples in different areas of the country.
The Nicaraguan crisis has left at least 328 dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), although local organizations have reported up to 651, and Ortega, which says it acts in the face of a “failed coup d’etat,” admits 200.