Pray & Act for Peace
Welcome & Introduction
Leader: Each of us is here today because we accepted the invitation of Pope Francis to pray for peace with the global Church in solidarity with the people of Syria. Let us begin by marking ourselves with the sign of the cross.
All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Leader: We will now listen to this call from Pope Francis to pray for peace.
Reader: "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 and women of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative. … [W]e will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention."
(Pope Francis, September 1, 2013, Angelus)
Leader: Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. We join our hearts in prayer with the people of Syria and the entire global community as we pray our opening prayer:
Side 1: Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Side 2: Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who
have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those
committed to peace.
Side 1: O God of hope and mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Side 2: Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
All: We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
(Adapted from www.usccb.org)
Reader: A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 2:2-4)
In days to come,
The mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it.
Many peoples shall come and say:
"Come, let us go up to the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths."
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and set terms for many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
The Word of the Lord
Side 1: God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.
Side 2: Streams of the river gladden
the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;
God will help it at break of day.
Side 1: Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,
God speaks and the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Side 2: Come and see the works of the LORD,
who has done fearsome deeds on earth;
Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
Side 1: "Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth."
Side 2: The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Reader: A Reading from the Gospel According to John (John 14: 27-31)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.
Get up, let us go.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
Leader: Let us now join our voices and hearts in prayer to the God of peace.
For the people of Syria during this time of civil war, that God may strengthen the resolve of leaders to end the fighting and choose a future of peace. We pray … R: God of Peace, Hear our Prayer
For refugees and all those whose lives are disrupted by war, that God may be a source of comfort. We pray…
For humanitarian workers, who seek to alleviate the sufferings caused by war, that they may be granted the resources and access to provide the necessary aid. We pray …
For Pope Francis and all religious leaders speaking out for peace, in gratitude for their leadership and dedication to the work of peace. We pray ….
For what else shall we pray …
Reflection and Commitment
Leader: In his call to prayer, Pope Francis also reminded us that peace is the responsibility of each and every one of us. Let us listen now to another reading from last week’s Angelus:
Reader: "What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love … All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity!"
Leader: I invite you to reflect on what you can do to make peace in your family, community, church, and world. You might want to look at the handout entitled "Pursuing Peace" that you received when you arrived today. There is also a small post-it note on the handout to write down your commitment to make peace. We will distribute pens if needed. Let’s take a few moments of quiet to pray and reflect on how you might be called to pursue peace.
Leader: We will now listen to a song about the Peace and Love of Christ. The song has a simple refrain which you are welcome to join in singing: "Pax amor Christi." As we listen to this song, you are also invited to come forward and place your commitment in one of the baskets near the altar. If you have also brought a monetary donation towards the relief efforts of Catholic Relief Services, you may place that in the other basket.
All are invited to come forward and place their commitment to peace and/or donation to CRS in baskets.
Offertory Song: Pax Amor Christi by Kathleen Deignan, CND
Refrain: Pax amor Christi (4 times)
Leader: We heard the words of Jesus in our Gospel reading: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." Let us now offer each other a sign of Christ’s Peace.
Sign of Peace
Leader: Pope Francis called us together on this eve of the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. In his words:
"Let us ask Mary to help us to response to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us! (Pope Francis, September 1, 2013, Angelus)
And so we lift our prayers, each in our own mother tongues:
All: Hail Mary, Full of Grace ….
Leader: Our prayer service for peace is now ended. Let us go in peace to love and serve the God of Peace.
All: Thanks Be to God.
Closing Song: Let There Be Peace on Earth
This prayer service prepared by Susan Francois, CSJP under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.
(Feel free to use and adapt with attribution - www.actjustly.blogspot.com)