Thursday, September 5, 2013

Virtual Prayer Vigil for Peace in Syria: Join Me

While thousands of faithful gather in St. Peter's Square this Saturday at 7 p.m., I'd like to host a virtual prayer for peace in Syria. That will be at 1 p.m. New York time. I'm not sure where I will be since I am still sorting out my Saturday plans, which include a cyclocross race in Trexlertown, Pa.. But I plan to participate in the fast from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday and to pray for peace at 1 p.m.  Will you join me?

The Arab Cultural Association held a candle light vigil
 in Downtown Athens, Ga., to raise awareness 
for the lives lost in the Syrian conflict. Photo courtesy of

It's not easy to find communal ways to heed Pope Francis' call, at least not in the New York metropolitan area. The closest church-sponsored prayer vigil I have been able to find is in Philadelphia, one-hour drive from me. In Philly, Archbishop Charles Chaput is opening the doors of the Cathedral Saturday night, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I am hopeful something more local will turn out to be happening. But no matter, I am asking you to join me in prayer at 1 p.m., eastern. (Thank my wise friend Fran , who suggested this idea! )

As the United States Congress contemplates bombing Syria, Catholic Philly posted a wonderful prayer we can say on Saturday.
God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
Strengthen Syria’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 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,

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