Home Diocese Bruised, not Broken: Pope Encourages Colombians to Pursue Peace

Bruised, not Broken: Pope Encourages Colombians to Pursue Peace


CARTAGENA, Colombia (CNS) – Pope Francis said he had no magic words or special recipes for Colombians seeking peace, but rather he wanted to listen to them, learn from them and travel a bit of the road with them. He had a small accident on the road Sept. 10 in Cartagena, the last city and last day of his five-day trip: Riding in the popemobile down a street packed with people who wanted to see him, Pope Francis turned and bashed his face on the edge of the window, cutting his eyebrow and provoking a sizable bump on his left cheekbone. While the bruise would fade, the overall experience of the trip was likely to linger. “I really was moved by the joy, the tenderness … the nobility of the Colombian people,” he later told reporters flying back to Rome with him. Before ending the trip with a Mass in Cartagena, Pope Francis had visited Bogota, Villavicencio and Medellin. He celebrated a large outdoor Mass in each city and had a packed schedule of meetings with government officials, bishops, youths, children living in a group home, and with priests, religious and seminarians. The painful realities of Colombia’s recent past were openly acknowledged with tears and hugs Sept. 8 in Villavicencio. At a national prayer service for reconciliation, a former member of the main rebel group and a former fighter with a paramilitary group shared their stories and asked forgiveness. A woman who lost two small children in the fighting and another still limping from injuries suffered in an explosion in 2012 offered to “forgive the unforgiveable,” as Pastora Mira Garcia, the mourning mother, told the pope.