WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- U.S. bishops have sent a letter of solidarity to their counterparts in Zimbabwe, as the growing humanitarian and governmental crisis continues in that African country.

Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the U.S. episcopal conference's international policy committee, wrote: "We acknowledge and accept the bishops' invitation to join with you in prayer for Zimbabwe."

In the letter, directed to Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare, president of the Zimbabwe episcopal conference, the U.S. prelate added: "We offer profound respect to you and our brother bishops in Zimbabwe for your brave and faithful pastoral ministry in these difficult days."

The Zimbabwean bishops issued a pastoral letter posted as an Easter message in churches throughout the country.

Further bloodshed and mass uprisings, they said, would only be prevented through democratic elections.

Bishop Wenski called their letter "a powerful testimony to the prophetic leadership of the bishops of Zimbabwe and to the tragic situation of the people in your country."

He added: "Your Pastoral Letter describes the deep crisis facing your people -- a crisis that is at once a crisis of governance, a crisis of moral leadership and a spiritual and moral crisis."

Code: ZE07041820

Date: 2007-04-18


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The "principal characteristics" of the zealot according to knowledge are the following: "fervent love for God and neighbor, gentleness, religious tolerance, forbearance, graciousness of manner."