A Shepherd's Message - Sept. 4, 2013

September 4, 2013

Pope Francis issued an intense and urgent summons to all members of the Church and all people of good will to pray, fast and work for peace in these days.
On Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Noon Angelus, he asked all of us to keep a special day of fast and prayer for peace in Syria and throughout the world on Saturday Sept. 7, the Vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and great patroness of peace.
In keeping with this invitation of the Holy Father, I am also asking our own clergy, religious and faithful to use Sept. 7 or some day near to it, to fast and pray for concord among nations and the cessation of war.

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I believe all of us can recognize the very complex situation in Syria, the terrible effects of the civil war there on civilian populations, the difficulty of assessing the various groups who are fighting, the involvement of other nations, some close by and some far away.
If there was ever a time when pressure should be applied for negotiations from all interested parties, it should be now and should be urgently asked by the superpowers. The recent use of chemical weapons is very ominous and further actions and reactions could lead to a regional war.
Beyond all political difficulties and opportunities, there are also moral evaluations that must be made and advanced. During such a sensitive and frightening moment, the Holy Father’s pleas for prayer and fasting are truly appropriate.

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Let us join with Francis our Pope and pray for peace, and pray for all the people of Syria!
Let us also join him in his appeal for negotiations over ultimatums and dialogue, hard as that is, over threats.