Join Our Holy Father in Praying for Peace!

Pope FrancisOur Holy Father, Pope Francis, has issued an urgent plea and invitation to fast and pray for peace in Syria this Saturday, September 7. This is a good opportunity to teach young people that some moments in life require more than a reliance on reason but call us to “drop to our knees.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Catholics are being encouraged to join a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East and the World Sept. 7 as the United States government considers its role in the ongoing struggle in Syria. Pope Francis called the world’s Catholics to the day of fasting and prayer for peace during an address Sunday, Sept. 1.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, said in a statement issued Tuesday, “As our nation’s leaders contemplate military action, it is particularly appropriate and urgent that we in the United States embrace the Holy Father’s call to pray and fast on September 7 for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria and to violent conflicts everywhere. Pope Francis has exhorted ‘the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace, … a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.’”

The pope stated that St. Peter’s Square will host a gathering for prayer on the afternoon of September 7, the vigil of a holy day honoring the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. The statement from Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates said Pope Francis has stressed the importance of promoting peace and that it must be pursued. Dioceses are being encouraged to take local initiatives to do so.

“We are anguished by the terrible suffering of the Syrian people and again affirm the need for dialogue and negotiation to resolve this conflict that has wrought so much devastation,” Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates said. “The use of chemical weapons is particularly abhorrent and we urgently pray for the victims of such atrocities and for their loved ones.  And we applaud the work done by those bringing humanitarian aid to people affected by this crisis and pray for their efforts to ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters.

The statement in its entirety, along with other resources regarding the church’s efforts in the region, is available at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/syria/index.cfm.

Pope Francis’ call for a day of fasting and prayer is online at http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/09/01/pope:_angelus_appeal_for_peace_(full_text)/en1-724673.

About Joe Paprocki 2366 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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