Saturday 7, September 2013
Catholics are being urged to join Pope Francis today for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, in the Middle East and throughout the whole world.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, said Australia’s Catholic bishops are joining the Pope’s call, with dioceses and parishes across Australia organising to pray with the Pope over the weekend.
“Australians have been very concerned to see the civil war in Syria develop over the past year and a half to a point where it appears poisonous gas may have been used in a chemical attack last month,” said Archbishop Hart.
“There can be no justification for the use of poisonous gas.
“More than six million Syrians are now refugees in neighbouring countries, fleeing the fighting.
“Australia has a special role as president of the United Nations Security Council, to help try to find a way to end the armed conflict.
“We need to pray for the more than 100,000 Syrians who have been killed in this conflict. We need to pray for the maimed, the homeless and the destitute. We need to pray for the armed groups in this conflict, that they can negotiate a peaceful settlement. And we also need to pray for the members of the United Nations Security Council, that they act with wisdom.
“While Syria is the focus of the world’s concern at the moment, we should not forget the need for peace in other parts of the Middle East and other parts of the world.”
Note: Pope Francis will preside at a Prayer Vigil in St Peter’s Square from 7pm to midnight on Saturday, 7 September Rome time, which is 3am to 8am Sunday, 8 September Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Archbishop Hart will be leading Catholics in prayer at the 11am high mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne on Sunday.