Catholic Bishops of Ecuador Issue Prayer and Call for Peace after Gangs Attack Government Venues and Kill 5 Police

The US Embassy in Ecuador reports that, since the early-morning hours of November 1, transnational criminal groups and local gangs have attacked several government and public venues in Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo, and Duran. Criminals have conducted attacks on multiple police stations and gas stations, a bus station, and a medical facility. Five Ecuadorian police officers and two citizens have been killed, and at least six more police officers have been injured. The situation remains dangerous.  In response to ongoing coordinated attacks, the Government of Ecuador issued executive order 588 November 1 and declared a 45-day State of Emergency in Guayas and Esmeraldas provinces through December 16.

The order permits the armed forces and police to take actions necessary to maintain public order, suspends the right of assembly in public spaces for groups infringing on the rights of others, and allows home searches without a judicial order in the two provinces. The order also imposes a daily curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the two provinces.
The bishops of Ecuador released a statement and ask all to join in prayer. They said, as Pastors of the Catholic Church, with hearts wounded by the violence that seeks take over our society, but above all with the certainty that we are a people of brothers, who have always known how to unite to fight the true enemies of the present and the future:
- We address ourselves, first of all, to the Christian communities that irrigate in the middle of the aridity of this time, the fresh water of the encounter, of the dialogue and of the fraternity. The ecclesial fabric runs through our entire country, especially the most fragile and vulnerable sectors of society.
Do not stop doing everything possible so that fear does not win: let us be, then, a ray of light in the midst of darkness, a testimony of strength and faith that is denied to fall into despair.
- We address all social and political actors. When you are at risk
future of the homeland, when seeking to sow death and chaos, when attacking our common values, not only that a good dose of sanity is necessary but above all a greater dose of courage to not play the game of
demagoguery, populism and the profligate search for personal interests or
partisans. All political discussion must be done within the framework of respect for the constitution and the democratic order, without forgetting that the reason for political action it is the defense of the poorest and most vulnerable. "When security is lacking and legality, the first affected are actually the most fragile and all those who in various ways can be called “last”.  (Pope Francis).
- We address, above all, every man and woman who inhabits this beautiful land from Ecuador. Each one of us will be held accountable not only to the
history but God himself of our actions. It is time for national union, for
rebuild the social pact that unites us and fight that common enemy that is the organized crime, drug trafficking, delinquency, insecurity, which
seek to destroy the most valuable treasure we have, our children and youth and who find fertile ground in a society in which unfortunately the poverty and inequality seem endless.

- We address those responsible for this violence: the men and women
criminals. "Please, change your life, stop doing evil. This life that you live now will not give you pleasure, it will not it will give you joy, it will not give you happiness. The power, the money that you now have of so many mafia crimes, it is blood money, it's blood power, and they can't take it to
the other life. Convert, there is still time, not to end up in the
hell. It is what awaits them if they continue down this path. They have had a dad and a mom: think of them. Cry a little and be converted”
(Pope Francis).

In particular, we want to express our solidarity with those among us who have lost a loved one, victim of the murderous violence of these days in the streets, in prisons, civilians and police. Your pain and tears are the pain and tears of every Ecuadorian. We pray for all the victims of drug trafficking, crime, Insecurity, corruption, injustice and marginality. Thanks to those who fulfill your duty, at the risk of your own life, show us that peace will triumph!

We want to share with all of you a hope, and it is this: that the sense of
little by little fraternity triumph over division, in all consciences and hearts...
Only from there can we heal, heal behaviors, relationships, decisions, the social fabric, so that justice and peace gain space, expand,
take root, and take the place of iniquity and violence.

Finally, we summon all the Catholic people to a day of prayer on the day
Sunday November 6 in all the parishes, chapels, oratories of Ecuador. and them.
We invite the following prayer to be raised to God in every Christian home:
Almighty and merciful God, Lord of the Universe and of human history.
All that you have created is good, and your compassion for man, which
it gives up again and again, it is inexhaustible.

We come today to implore you to protect Ecuador and its inhabitants with peace, driving away from him the destructive tide of violence, restoring friendship and pouring into the hearts of your creatures the gift of trust and promptness to forgive.

Giver of life, we also ask you for all those who have died, victims of
brutal criminal acts. Grant them reward and eternal joys.
May they intercede for Ecuador, shaken by anguish and misfortune.

Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray for those injured in gang attacks
criminals: children and youth, women and men, the elderly,
innocent people and those who have been attacked by chance. Heal your body and the heart, that they feel strengthened by your consolation, drive away from them hatred and the desire for revenge.

Holy Spirit Comforter, visit the families that mourn the loss of their
relatives, innocent victims of violence and drug trafficking. Cover them with  mantle of your Divine Mercy. May they find in Tila strength and courage to continue to be brothers and sisters to others, bearing witness with their lives your love.

Move the hearts of the violent so that they recognize the wickedness of their actions and return to the path of peace and good, respect for life and
dignity of every human being.

God, Eternal Father, compassionately listen to this prayer that rises up to You among the noise and despair of Ecuador. Full of confidence in your infinite
Mercy, trusting in the intercession of your Most Holy Mother, we turn to
You with great hope, begging for the gift of peace and asking you to move away from us the whip of violence.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord