March 19, 2002
Most Reverend Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo
Archbishop of Medellín
President, Episcopal Conference of Colombia
Apartado Aéreo 7448
Santafé de Bogotá
Dear Archbishop Giraldo,
It was with profound shock and sorrow that we learned of the assassination of Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cancino of Cali last Saturday, the 16th of March. In the name of the Bishops of the United States, I join with you in mourning Archbishop Duarte's tragic death and express anew our solidarity with and support for you and all the suffering Church of Colombia.
Those responsible for this cowardly act clearly intended, as your statement on the killing stated, "to sow seeds of increased confusion in order to cause chaos and division" among the Colombian people. It is my prayer that the sacrifice of this faithful Pastor will inspire ever greater unity among the faithful and strengthen the determination of all Colombians to seek the paths of peace and reconciliation.
Be assured of our continued prayers for the Church and people of Colombia. We unite with you especially during these final days of Lent as we commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus, soon to rejoice with Him in His Paschal triumph.
With prayerful best wishes, I am
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville