Pope Prays for Peace in North

( [email protected] ) Jul 03, 2003 02:38 PM EDT

Pope John Paul II yesterday expressed "profound sadness" over the war in northern Uganda and Liberia.

A Vatican newsletter, Misna, reported that the Pope yesterday morning launched an appeal for the commitment to find peace and security for the dear African populations.

"That their right for a better future is not denied to them," the Pope said.

The head of the Catholic Church also expressed love for the communities affected by war.

"I furthermore express my personal dearness for the local churches, which are severely targeted, whilst I encourage the priests and all the faithful to be strong and firm in faith. May they obtain this from the clemency of our insistent prayer," he said.

Rebel leader Joseph Kony recently ordred his Lord's Resistance Army to attack Catholic institustions in northern Uganda.

The Archbishop of Gulu Diocese, John Baptist Odama, has been leading a campaign for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the region.

Odama said that the message of consolation from the Pope was the best ever since he became bishop.

"Not only do the Pope's words console us, but [they] give us the strength and courage to face present adversities," he said.

Odama said that his people are desperate.

He hoped that President Yoweri Museveni would accept a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

"But when your hut is engulfed by flames and you cannot turn out the fire, it is time to ask for help from neighbours. An entire village is on fire here!" lamented the archbishop.