Pope Francis called upon all the faithful worldwide to join in a day of “fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world” on this Saturday, September 7 (the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace).
He announced that in St Peter’s Square, from 7pm till midnight on September 7, “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”.
Subsequent to the pontiff’s call he used the means of social media to advocate for an end to violence, particularly in Syria, but more generally around the world.
Three tweets were sent from his @Pontifex account on September 2, each urging peace:
“How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake,” the most recent tweet says.
Another, three hours earlier, said, “We want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace”.
Some hours before that, the tweet from @Pontifex was, “War never again. Never again war.”
In the Brisbane Archdiocese, Archbishop Mark Coleridge has contacted all priests and parishes to engage them in the Holy Father’s initiative.
While acknowledging a number of complications with the September 7 date, the Archbishop asked that special prayers of intercession for peace in Syria be made at all Masses on this Sunday and further, that in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the week of 8-15 September be made a time of special prayer for Syria, with a day of fasting on Friday, 13 September.
“Let us beseech God with one heart and voice to do what human beings cannot do,” Archbishop Coleridge said.