In an Oct. 19 statement, St. Cloud Bishop Patrick Neary, C.S.C., joined Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer for peace on Oct. 27. He writes:
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Diocese of St. Cloud:
Like all of you, I feel deeply saddened by the recent violent attacks that have taken place in Israel and Palestine. Many innocent people have been killed, some are still being held hostage, and many families have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the conflict. Displaced families in Gaza now face a humanitarian crisis, as they struggle to find food, water and shelter for their families.
Pope Francis, at the end of a recent General Audience, issued a warning against a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and ongoing conflicts elsewhere, saying, “War does not solve any problem: it sows only death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War cancels out the future.”
The possible widening of the conflict is disturbing, he added, while so many other wars are being fought in the world. “Please,” he said, “let us continue to pray for peace in the world, especially in tormented Ukraine.”
“May weapons be silenced, and let us heed the cry for peace of the poor, the people, the children,” the pope said. He urged people of faith to take “just one side in this conflict: that of peace. But not in words — in prayer, with total dedication.”
Pope Francis has therefore called for a day of fasting, penance and prayer for peace in the world on Friday, October 27.
He invited men and women of every Christian denomination and other religions, as well as those committed to the cause of peace, to participate in any way they feel is appropriate.
I ask all our parishes and schools to participate in this global event on October 27 as we do our part as the Diocese of St. Cloud to heed the call of Pope Francis.
I also invite those who might be free to join me on October 27 in offering the 12:05 p.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral for world peace.
Lastly, please consider making a financial contribution to Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. CRS and its partners are on the ground in the Holy Land meeting the urgent humanitarian needs. Send your contribution to the St. Cloud Mission Office, 11 – 8th Ave. S., St. Cloud, MN 56301. Please write “Holy Land Relief” on the memo line of your check. The Mission Office will forward your contribution to CRS.
As we continue to pray for peace in our world, a moving quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., comes to mind: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
May our fasting, penance, and prayer be as light to dispel the darkness of our world and be as love to drive out hate from human hearts.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Patrick M. Neary, C.S.C.