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Together we pray: A day of prayer for peace is set in September

In light of recent incidents of violence and racial tension in communities across the United States, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops invited all dioceses throughout the country to unite in a Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities and appointed a special task force to support bishops in marking that Day of Prayer and promoting peace and healing.

In his initial and immediate response to the racially related shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., noted the need to look at ways the Catholic Church can walk with and help these suffering communities, according to the USCCB.

“I have stressed the need to look toward additional ways of nurturing an open, honest and civil dialogue on issues of race relations, restorative justice, mental health, economic opportunity and addressing the question of pervasive gun violence,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “The Day of Prayer and special task force will help us advance in that direction. By stepping forward to embrace the suffering, through unified, concrete action animated by the love of Christ, we hope to nurture peace and build bridges of communication and mutual aid in our own communities.”

The Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities will be celebrated on the Feast of St. Peter Claver, Sept. 9, and will serve as a focal point for the work of the task force.

According to Phil Lawson, director of evangelization and catechesis for the Diocese of Burlington, parishes are encouraged to pray for peace in all communities at Mass that day. “Where the rosary is prayed before or after Mass, peace can be the particular intention that day. A Holy Hour in adoration is also a good option,” he suggested. “Still further, as we are called to take the peace of the Lord out into our communities, why not offer a free noontime cookout on the front lawn of the parish and invite the neighboring families, businesses, churches and workers to come together in fellowship?  Or an evening ice cream social open to the whole community?  The possibilities are unlimited.” 

Asked why parishes should join in this effort, he quoted Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

The purpose of the task force is to help bishops engage the challenging problems directly by gathering and disseminating supportive resources and best practices, actively listening to the concerns of members in troubled communities and law enforcement and building strong relationships to help prevent and resolve conflicts. 

The task force will conclude its work with a report on its activities and recommendations for future work to the November General Assembly.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, former USCCB president, will chair the task force.  

“At every Mass, we ask the Lord for His peace, we receive it in our hearts, and we go forth to share it with others. What a world we could have!” Lawson said.  

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Last modified onWednesday, 31 August 2016 07:39

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