Pope calls on people worldwide to pray and fast for peace in Syria
6 September 2013
Pope Francis has called on the Catholic faithful worldwide to pray and fast for peace in Syria, on Saturday, 7 September.
Speaking ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square last Sunday, Pope Francis said:
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace. I appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.”
“Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!”
According to the United Nations there are now more than two million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries - double the number that were there in March and nearly ten times as many as this time last year.
CAFOD’s Alan Thomlinson says: “This isn’t just a crisis for Syria, it’s a catastrophe for the entire region. With more than 100,000 people dead and millions driven from their homes, peace must be the number one priority.”
In June, at a meeting in Rome, the Pope praised the work of our partners, telling them that their courage in responding to the suffering of the people of Syria was the best way to cement peace.
“The work of various Catholic charitable agencies is extremely significant. Assisting the Syrian population, without regard for ethnic or religious affiliation, is the most direct way to contribute to peace,” he said.
The Pope has also invited non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian believers to participate in ways they feel are appropriate.
Thanks to the donations of the Catholic community in England and Wales, we have committed more than £1.8 million to respond to the crisis. We are working with Church partners to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, providing food, shelter, healthcare, clothes and blankets to those most in need. We are also responding to the crisis in Syria itself.