Irish bishops are inviting the faithful to join with them and with Pope Francis to pray for peace in the Middle East and especially for the people of Syria on Monday 31 October, which is a public holiday in Ireland. This prayer initiative has been organised to coincide with the Holy Father’s participation in the ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation due to be held in Sweden on 31 October.
The idea behind this event, co-organised by the Catholic Church, Caritas International and the Lutheran World Federation, is to shift relations from conflict to communion with a focus on young people and the hope which this commemoration will bring.
On Monday next, Pope Francis, alongside Bishop Munib Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federation and the Rev Martin Junge, the Federation’s General Secretary, will lead a common prayer service based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran Common Prayer liturgical guide at 1.30pm Irish time.
Bishops invite the faithful to gather on Monday at a time that most suits their needs and to hold a prayer gathering in parishes, schools, community venues, or at home. A special prayer, which has been designed for use on the day has been made available. In addition, Trócaire, the bishops’ overseas development agency has developed a special prayer service for use in parishes on this occasion. This is available to download from catholicbishops.ie.
Commenting on the prayer initiative, Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne and Chairman of Trócaire said, “Innocent men, women and children are paying the ultimate price in the continuing conflict raging in Syria, especially in Aleppo, where they are caught in the crossfire. I join with Pope Francis in urging governments to find a political solution to the war in Syria. I encourage the faithful to share the ideals of the Caritas International #PeacePossible4Syria campaign and to pray for peace in the Middle East, especially in Syria and the City of Aleppo.”
Those taking part in prayer gatherings on Monday 31 October are invited to share their particular prayer service using the hashtag #PeacePossible4Syria.
Caritas International is a confederation of over 160 members who are working at the grassroots in almost every country of the world, reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and excluded, regardless of race or religion, to build a world based on justice and fraternal love. From the founding of the first Caritas in Germany in 1897, to the setting up of Caritas Internationalis in 1951, until today, Caritas has a rich history of listening respectfully to the suffering of the poor and giving them the tools to transform their own lives. The deep moral and spiritual principles of dignity, justice, solidarity and stewardship still guide Caritas today.
Watch the ‘Syria: Peace is Possible’ video and download resources from the website http://syria.caritas.org.