NEW YORK, September 4, 2013 –In his address following the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, His Holiness, Pope Francis, proclaimed Saturday, September 7, a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world.
During his address, the Pope expressed deep worry and concern for conflicts throughout the world, especially in Syria, and for the devastation, suffering, and pain inflicted upon civilians and the unarmed. He condemned the use of chemical weapons outright.
“With all my strength,” the Pope urged during his Angelus address, “I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves solely in their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and sisters and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigor 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.”
Held in a spirit of penance, the prayer vigil will invoke God’s gift of peace upon the nation of Syria and on all situations of conflict and violence around the world. “Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace,” said Pope Francis.
“[E]ach person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will,” is invited “to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”
The Pope will personally lead a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican from 7pm to 12pm this Saturday, Rome time.
In New York, Cardinal Dolan has invited the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, to celebrate the Vigil Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Avenue, at 5.30 p.m. ET (11.30 p.m. Rome time) as part of the response to the Pope’s plea for fasting and prayer.