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SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — It did not matter that four walls and a few charred embers were all that remained of the sanctuary. It was time to celebrate the Easter Mass, so hundreds of Catholic parishioners ignored the rubble and gathered at what remained of their former church in the Sarajevo suburb of Stup.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, packed into the small church, the worshipers listened to Bishop Pero Sudar give a message about the resurrection of Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago.

According to Sudar, the message still has meaning today, especially now that the war in Bosnia is over.

Like Jesus, the Bosnian people have suffered at the hands of evil men, but now they have a chance to have new life.

"We have a revived hope," Sudar said Saturday evening. Speaking about the problems that now face his country, Sudar said it is imperative that the people learn to forgive each other.

Without that, the Bosnian people will not rise from the devastation they've experienced in the past four years and have lasting peace.

"It is a difficult message to give," Sudar acknowledged.

"It's hard to tell somebody who has lost everything to forgive those who have taken from you. But it is our only hope."

Sudar said he has had people — even members of his own family — angrily confront him and say they will never be able to forgive. But, he said, if the people in Bosnia do not learn to live with each other, war will return.

Although Sudar said he always preaches peace, he said he understands that if a proper political environment does not exist, no amount of correct biblical teaching will solve the problems in Bosnia.

"If Jesus were to come today and say, 'Love each other. You are all children of my Father,' the people in political power now would say, 'Father? Who is your Father? We don't have the same Father.' They'd crucify him all over again."


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