By Vatican News
Pope Francis has addressed a message to Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, in a gesture of closeness over a petrol bomb attack at the Managua Cathedral on Friday.
“Dear Brother, I accompany you in sorrow for this act of vandalism and I am close to you and your people. I am praying for all of you,” reads the Pope’s message.
Cardinal Brenes read the Pope’s message and showed it on a video during a Mass on Sunday organized as part of a “Day of Silence and Prayer” organised following the attack on the cathedral.
Pope Francis also prayed for the Church in Nicaragua following the recitation of the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
Attack on Managua Cathedral
On Friday, an unknown attacker entered Managua’s Cathedral and threw a molotov cocktail which burned, among other things, a 400-year-old crucifix.
Cardinal Brenes deplored the incident calling it “an act of terrorism” in his homily broadcast on YouTube from his home.
He thanked Pope Francis for his message of solidarity which he also expressed during the Angelus on Sunday. “It is beautiful to feel the closeness of the Pope as a brother and friend,” Cardinal Brenes said, adding that the closeness “strengthens us in faith and encourages us to move forward.”
Several other reactions have trailed the incident. The Mexican Bishops’ Conference referred to the attack as “a deplorable act” and a “painful wound” and called for harmony and peace. Other Bishops’ Conferences including those of Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala have also deplored the incident in various statements.
Several expressions of solidarity
Cardinal Brenes said he has received many gestures of solidarity from people all over the world, including from the Nuncio in Nicaragua, the Archbishop of Madrid and its Cardinal, Carlos Osoro Sierra. He also recognized the messages of closeness from various religious orders and Catholic Universities.
Many among the Nicaraguan faithful have also set up small altars in their homes to participate in a “Day of Silence and prayer.”
At this time, said Cardinal Brenes, “the Word of God is help and comfort”. Today more than ever, “the Lord is our strength.”
Cardinal Brenes called for forgiveness of the perpetrator pointing out that “the enemies of the Church may destroy sacred images but we cling to the God who loves us, the God of mercy and love.”
Previous attacks on Churches
Other attacks on Churches have taken place in Nicaragua. On 29 July, unknown persons desecrated the Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the municipality of Nindirí. While on 27 July, in the same city, the tabernacle of the Chapel of Our Lady of Carmel in the Parish of Veracruz was thrown to the ground.