Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for Us!

Pope Francis this morning (Rome time) spoke of his deep distress at the escalating violence (especially the alleged use of nerve agents by the Syrian govenment to kill hundreds and possibly thousands of innocent civilians ). He argued for the urgency of a negotiated settlement to the conflict and for outside nations to avoid intervening in the civil war. He called on all Catholics to undertake a day of fasting and prayer on Saturday, September 7th for peace in Syria and the Middle East, noting that this day is the eve of the feast of the birth of Mary, the Mother of God, the Queen of Peace.
He invited Christians of all denominations, as well as believers of other faiths to fast and pray for peace in Syria on that day as well. I welcome his call to be in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters subject to the scourge of war and its attendent disasters, to pray for them and to pray for peace.
Juneau, Alaska is a world away from Syria and the Middle East, but this afternoon following Mass at the Shrine of St.Therese, this group of Armenian pilgrims from California gathered in the chapel to sing the Lord's Prayer and to pray, which they did in the beautiful chant of the Armenian liturgy. They had heard of the Holy Father's call for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria and they shared with us that some of them were originally from Syria (where there are Armenian communities) or had family members living in Syria. Afterwards, they invited our Bishop, Edward Burns and me to join them for a group photo.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have been with these pilgrims as they prayed the prayer Jesus taught us. We are in the midst of a deepening crisis for all of the people of the Middle East but especially for the ancient Christian communities there who are faced with grave threats to their continued survival in their countries of origin.
May our prayers be joined to theirs and to those of all people of faith and goodwill to deliver the people of Syria and the region from the evil of war.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

1 comment:

  1. I am heart sick about the situation in Syria and all of the Middle East. I pray daily about it, but will have an especial focus in the next few days leading into Saturday.