Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland are encouraged to join Pope Francis in participating in a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria on Saturday, Sept. 7.
In an address at the Vatican on Sunday, September 1, Pope Francis directly referred to the situation in Syria:
How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
Pope Francis continued, “I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”
In a statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and by Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace they declared, “We ask all U.S. Catholics and people of goodwill to join us in witnessing to the hope we have in our hearts for peace for the Syrian people. May our prayers, fasting, and advocacy move our nation to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.”
Statement of Pope Francis:
Statement of Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates: