Last Sunday, Pope Francis called for an end to violence as a means to peace: "Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence." Then he invited the Church and the entire global community to join him in a day of fasting and prayer culminating in a vigil this Saturday, Sept. 7, for peace in Syria and around the world.
In conjunction with the Holy Father’s Saturday prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square,
Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates invites all people to join him for night prayer this Saturday, Sept. 7, 7:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral and through a Novena for Peace that begins Saturday and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Bishop Pates will begin the evening with a brief update on the situations in Syria and Egypt, speaking in his role as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Then Bishop Pates will lead night prayer (also known as compline), the last liturgy of each day prayed by the Church. This is not a Mass but rather one of the liturgies from the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayer begins with an examination of conscience and asking God for forgiveness. It includes psalms, readings and reflections and ends with a hymn to Mary.
Also planned is an ecumenical Taizé prayer for peace on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral. This unique musical style is ideally suited to prayer and contemplation for peace as well as to unite with other Christians who share our belief in Jesus Christ. Singers and instrumentalists are welcome to join a 1:30 p.m. open rehearsal. Musicians RSVP by Sept. 12 to firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome to attend and pray for peace.
Bishop Pates, in his role as national committee chair for the U.S. bishops, has been urging our country’s leaders to take a peaceful approach to the conflict in Syria. One week ago, Bishop Pates wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry about peace in Syria. Two days ago, he joined Cardinal Timothy Dolan in urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace on Saturday. Yesterday, Bishop Pates and Cardinal Dolan sent a letter to President Obama about peace in Syria and today, Sept. 5, they sent a letter to every member of Congress urging a peaceful solution for ending violence in Syria. “Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it,” they wrote. For more on today’s letter to Congress, go to usccb.org/news/2-13-160.cfm.
Go to www.dmdiocese.org/worship for more information on these events and prayers for peace.
Prayer for Peace in Syria and Egypt
Novena (9 Days of Prayer) Sept. 7-15
Novena Prayer for Peace
God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria and Egypt,
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
strengthen Syria's and Egypt's neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,
convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and protect those committed to peace.
God of Hope,
inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,
inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria and Egypt,
and give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World. Amen.
Mary, Mother of Compassion and Queen of Peace, pray for us.