Anglicans back Pope Francis's day of fasting for Congo and South Sudan

Anglican leaders are backing a call from Pope Francis for a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Citing the 'tragic continuation of conflict' in a number of countries, particularly the Congo and South Sudan, Francis called on Catholics and other Christian denominations to come together for a ecumenical day of fasting.

ReutersPope Francis issued the call on Sunday in his traditional Angelus address to crowds in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

'Our heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry to him in pain and in anguish: "He heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds,"' he said, quoting Psalm 147:3. 'I address a heartfelt appeal that we too hear this cry and, each person in his or her own conscience, before God, let us ask ourselves, "what can I do for peace?"

'Certainly we can pray; but not only this: each person can say a concrete "no" to violence, as far as it depends on him or her. Because the victories obtained with violence are false victories: whereas working for peace is good for all!'

The pontiff's remarks have been backed by the acting primate of the Anglican Church of South Sudan, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, and the deputy director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The acting primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Peter Munde Yacoub of the internal province of Western Equatoria, and Bishop of Yambio, said prayer is 'our weapon as Christians'.

'Pray that the Almighty God can turn their hearts from waging war to peace. We, the South Sudanese, are fed up of war and there is no one who is interested again in war. Pray that the Almighty God can work through them and they can put the interest of the South Sudanese people, which is peace,' he said.

'Jesus says if we pray faithfully, the mountains can fall into the sea. We have mountains in front of us: the evil war and the killing of innocent people.

'Pray that Almighty God will remove this evil war and bring us peace, and remove the suffering of South Sudanese people.'

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also backed the call to prayer and fasting, saying: 'Conflicts continue to blight the lives of millions of people. In support of our brothers and sisters in areas of conflict, and particularly in solidarity with those in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, I join with Pope Francis in calling the Churches of the Anglican Communion and all people of good will to prayer and fasting for peace on Friday 23 February.'