pope in colombia

Defend life, equality, unity, pope tells Colombians

Pope Francis greeted young people prior to Mass at Simon Bolivar Park in Bogota, Colombia, Sept. 7.

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Consolidating peace in Colombia will mean overcoming "the darkness" of inequality and a lack of respect for human life, Pope Francis said.

"Here, as in other places, there is a thick darkness which threatens and destroys life," the pope said in his homily at a late-afternoon Mass Sept. 7 in Bogota's Simon Bolivar Park.

Colombian authorities said more than 1.1 million people gathered in the park for the Mass. Many of them were soaked in a rainstorm before the pope arrived, but as Mass began, bits of blue sky began to appear.

Be the first to take a step for peace, pope says at Mass with victims

Pope Francis waved to people upon entering Catama field in Villavicencio, Colombia, Sept. 8. The pope beatified Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca and Father Pedro Maria Ramirez.

VILLAVICENCIO, Colombia -- If just one victim of Colombia's civil war forgives his or her aggressor, it can set off a chain reaction of hope for reconciliation and peace, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass Sept. 8 in Villavicencio, a city filled with those who fled their homes during the war and with former fighters trying to start over, Pope Francis pleaded for honesty and courage.

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