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 CNS Story:

SUDAN-PRAY Mar-4-2010 (340 words) xxxi

In prayer, church leaders call for peaceful outcome to Sudan elections

By Francis Njuguna
Catholic News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako of Khartoum, Sudan urged Christians to pray for a peaceful outcome for the country's April general elections.

Speaking at an ecumenical prayer service at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Khartoum March 1, Cardinal Wako prayed that both candidates and voters would act in the best interests of the country.

"Let there be love and sincerity among us as citizens and love for the service that needs to be rendered in the spirit of true service, taking the example of Christ who came to serve and not to be served and gave his life for all," he said.

Cardinal Wako also urged voters to consider which candidates "are capable of caring for the country well."

Among those attending the prayer service were Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak of Wau, president of the Sudan bishops' conference, Bishop Jonathan A. Kuku of the Anglican Church of the Sudan, and Abel Alier, chairman of National Electoral Commission. The congregation numbered in the hundreds and included clergy, government representatives and citizens.

Clergy encouraged voters to turn out for the elections April 11 and April 13 for president and local officials. It is the Sudan's first multiparty election in 24 years.

Anglican Father Deng Bol compared the role of elected officials with those of leaders of the early Christian church who made sure the needs of the poor and marginalized were met.

"Let us elect the people who can do likewise ... and ask God to give us the right person to lead us," he said.

Bishop Majak said the election offers the Sudanese people the chance to remake the country.

"God will judge us according to our actions and the most difficult part will be the sin of omission, the time we neglected our duties and could not render the service demanded of us," he said.

"We need people who are capable of fulfilling the needs of their subjects and have the sense of nationalism and humanism," he added. "Let love for the truth be our priority."

END


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