All 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.
Catholic News Agency reported that Pope Francis called the world’s Catholics to the day of fasting and prayer for peace during his address on Sunday, Sept. 1.
“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me,” he said to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming,” continued the Pope.
“For this reason, brothers and sisters, I have decided to call for a vigil for the whole Church,” he announced.
It will be “a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East, and throughout world.”
The vigil will take place on Sept. 7, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, said: “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 Sept. 7 for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria
and to violent conflicts everywhere.”
Noting Mary’s universal motherly concern, Pope Francis said, “Let us 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!”
As he has done on previous Sundays, Pope Francis led the crowds in invoking her intercession: “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”Cardinal Dolan encouraged local dioceses to take part in this prayer vigil. Let your pastor know about this day of prayer and fasting. And even if your local parish isn’t taking part, consider getting a group together and unite your prayers with Pope Francis for peace in Syria.