As people of faith and conscience, we have all been shocked and horrified by the inhuman acts of brutality and violence taking place in Syria. The palpable sorrow of mothers and fathers grieving the seemingly senseless loss of their children and loved ones has deeply affected me and has overtaken my thoughts and prayers. As we watch television, follow twitter and listen to the radio we bear witness to the evil, hate and objectification that takes place in our world.
As Catholics we are called to share the peace of Christ in our world and pray for the fulfillment of his mission on earth. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the world to be held on September 7th, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. The Holy Father reminds us that “peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected” and that “all men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace.” Please consider joining Msgr. Doug Cook, rector, for a prayer service for peace and holy hour on September 8 at 7 p.m. at Holy Family Cathedral. All throughout the diocese are encouraged to join me in prayer for the people of Syria.
The act of fasting reminds us of our utter dependence on God for the gift of peace and places us in solidarity with the suffering people of Syria, many of whom are struggling to find food to feed their families. As our political leaders contemplate military action, it is particularly appropriate and urgent that we 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 called us to, “…ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”
+Bishop Kevin Vann