Day of Prayer for Peace – 27 October 2023

Day of Prayer for Peace – 27 October 2023

During his general audience last Wednesday, Pope Francis called for a World Day of Prayer for Peace on Friday, 27 October, inviting all Christians and people of other faiths to join him in prayer. The Holy Father also invited people of no faith, but with a heart for peace, to join him as they see fit.

Warning against a humanitarian catastrophe, he said, “War does not solve any problems, it only sows death and destruction. It increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future.”
Organising Prayer for Peace
Inviting local parishes, dioceses and groups to join him by organising a similar hour of prayer on 27 October, the Holy Father’s words at the end of his audience were:

“Today too, dear brothers and sisters, our thoughts turn to Palestine and Israel.
The number of victims is rising and the situation in Gaza is desperate.
Please, let everything possible be done to avoid a humanitarian disaster.

The possible widening of the conflict is disturbing, while so many war fronts are already open in the world. May weapons fall silent! Let us heed the cry for peace of populations, of the people, of the children!

Brothers and sisters, war does not solve any problem: it sows only death and destruction, foments hate and proliferates revenge. War cancels out the future. I urge believers to take just one side in this conflict: that of peace. But not with words — with prayer, with total dedication.

With this in mind, I have decided to call for a day of fasting and prayer, of penance, on Friday 27 October, to which I invite sisters and brothers of the various Christian denominations, those belonging to other religions and all those who have at heart the cause of peace in the world, to join in as they see fit.

That evening, at 6 p.m., at Saint Peter’s, we will spend an hour of prayer, in a spirit of penance, to implore peace in our time, peace in this world. I ask all the particular Churches to participate by arranging similar activities involving the People of God.”

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One Comment

  1. Chris McDonnell says:

    Chris McDonnell: Give us a light
    It so happens that it was in this October week back in 1962 that what became known as the Cuban Missile crisis headlined the news. Kennedy faced off Khruschev over the intention of the USSR to place nuclear armed missiles on the island of Cuba thus threatening the southern border of the United States. For thirteen days we held our breath as we edged closer and closer to possible nuclear conflict. Kennedy held his nerve, Khrushchev backed down and armed confrontation was avoided.
    Now, all these years later, the imminence of war hangs over us again, a war with a long historical tap root. A couple of weeks ago, the state of Israel was subject to an act of savagery when it was attacked without warning by multiple rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas, killing over a thousand men, women and children. They were not in the uniform of a militia but civilians going about their Saturday business, the mark of the sabbath. It was an act that was widely condemned as an atrocity.
    But it was an atrocity with a deep historical background, too complex to develop in these few words. Over recent days thousands of words have been written on the story. With this latest episode of violence, the response of Israel has been swift and sure. Round the clock air raids on the Gaza strip and the city of Gaza have reduced the crowded living space to rubble. Casualties have been heavy, the city skyline clouded with grey-black smoke. I wrote this a couple of days back.

    Give us a light

    Grey smoke from red tipped cigarettes
    drifts aimlessly across the crowded bar
    Hovering over animated conversations
    interrupted by coughing and a shouted call
    for more drinks, inhospitable.

    Thick, dirty clouds from explosions in the city
    wander on the wind through overcrowded streets
    strewn with twisted rubble and burning cars,
    interrupted by shouts and cries from sweating
    rescuers, working with stained, bare hands.

    The insistent rotating hands of clocks hung high on
    tattered ribboned concrete walls measure the
    space between here and later as homes
    empty to greet the streets with bags and tears
    fearful of the coming hours of journey.

    What it must have been like to live through the onslaught that it has been that city’s lot to endure is beyond belief. With all power, fuel, medical supplies and water cut off medieval siege conditions are being imposed. With the order to evacuate the city harsh decisions are facing the people. We can only hope and pray that, as with the Cuban crisis at the height of the Cold War, a solution is found that reflects the dignity of people before it is too late, and conflict becomes extended across the Middle East. We are on the verge of the abyss.

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