Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday September 15th. 2013
World response to Pope Francis vigil for peace  in Syria 100,000 fill St. Peter’s Square
VATICAN CITY -- Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday, answering Pope Francis' call for a grassroots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria and in vigils around the world. The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part in the Rome event, making it one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Francis spent most of the vigil in silent prayer, but during his speech he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are "captivated by the idols of dominion and power" and destroy God's creation through war. "This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!" he said. "May the noise of weapons cease!" he said. "War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity." Even in the world's trouble spots people prayed - Muslims too
MILLIONS OF Catholics around the world responded to Pope Francis' call to pray and fast for Syria last Saturday. Christian leaders of the Holy Land gathered in the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. A stone enshrined there, representing Jesus' agony, was covered with notes in different languages, all asking for peace. In the West Bank town of Ramallah, about 300 Christians and Muslims gathered at the Annunciation Melkite Catholic Church and processed by candlelight to the nearby Islamic Club. In Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople welcomed the appeal of the "brother in Christ, Francis Pope" and in Istanbul, Mahmut Kurtoglu, a Muslim preacher, was invited to read parts of the Qur'an at a packed Santa Maria Draperis Church. Meanwhile, Christians and Muslims joined a prayer vigil at the Church of St Joseph in the Pakistan city of Lahore. In India, one archbishop said that some Hindu leaders had called him "to express solidarity and to ensure fasting and prayer in the Hindu temmples".   In South Africa, the Catholic Radio Veritas aired a special prayer vigil. In Mali, which has recently emerged from a separatist conflict, the bishops called on Christians and all Malians of goodwill to pray and fast.
Human rights and religious groups held vigils in Buenos Aires and other cities across Pope Francis' native Argentina. In the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the nuncio and soon-to-be Secretary of State at the Vatican State, joined a Peace Mass at the Basilica of Santa Teresa. Other faith leaders also responded. The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, said the Jewish community was "in harmony" with the Pope's vigil. Iranians, followers of Shia Islam, citizens of the Baha'i faith, and other members of the organisation Iran Rights Watch, joined in fasting and praying. In the US, Cardinal Donald Wuerl presided at a Mass for peace at the packed National Shrine in Washington DC. Similar Masses and vigils were held from Louisiana to Alaska. In Australia, more than 500 members of Sydney's Syrian Catholic community fasted through the night. Several hundred people attended a vigil in Paris' Basilica of Sacre Coeur and in Lourdes thousands joined a torchlight procession. At the Dornbirn trade fair in Austria, the Bishop ofFeldkirch, Benno Elbs; a Protestant and a Serb-Orthodox priest; two imams and a Buddhist monk recited prayers together.
RUSSIA The Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate warned that military intervention would harm Syrian Christians, writes Josef Pazderka. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said: "If [extremists] take power, even temporarily, the Christian population will be eliminated or driven out from their lands and their churches will be destroyed:' . The Russian Foreign Ministry cited last week's attack on the ancient
Christian village of Maaloula, urging "everyone who cares about the fate of the people of Maaloula to do everything possible to prevent their killing and the destruction of Christian holy places': Asia News on Tuesday reported three Christians in Maaloula had been murdered and six young Greek Catholic Christians kidnapped by unnamed attackers thought to be Islamic insurgents     (from The Tablet)
There seems little doubt that the world-wide response from all faiths to Pope Francis’ appeal for peace in Syria has had the blessing  of God Millions of people all over the world took up Pope Francis appeal for prayer and fasting to prevent the USA’s assault with missiles on Syria. Surprisingly, Russia has turned out to be the peace broker! We had our Holy Hour on Wednesday with Mass and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament to add our parish’s prayers to that of the rest of the world.