Radio) Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer for
peace in Syria, in the entire Mideast region, and throughout the whole
world to be held this coming Saturday, September 7th, 2013. The Pope
made the announcement during the course of remarks ahead of the
traditional Angelus prayer this Sunday. Below, please find the full text
of the Holy Father's Angelus appeal.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the
cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world,
from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great
family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which
declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and
women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and
conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace
is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
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.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which
arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much
devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in
that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I
think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost
firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those
terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart.
There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are
inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake.
War begets war, violence begets violence.
With all my strength, I
ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own
conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests,
but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and
courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so
overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international
community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in
that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and
negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
May no effort
be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by
this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many
refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the
task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access
so as to provide the necessary aid.
What can we do to make peace in
the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to
establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and
guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April
1963]: AAS 55, , 301-302).
All men and women of good will are
bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call
to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other
confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those
brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes
every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of
conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a
culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of
everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves
be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I
have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the
vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer
for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I
also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of
other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever
way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s
Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a
spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved
nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around
the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear
words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to
fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
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! 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. Mat, Queen of Peace, pray for us!