LAHORE: Pope Francis urges all to pray and fast for peace in Syria and Middle East.
In line consistency with details, Pope Francis called upon all Christians to observe a day of peace, prayer and fasting for peace in Syria and Middle East on September 1st 2013. The community of Sant Egidio organized a special peace prayer service at St. Mary’s Church Gulberg Lahore. Parish priest Rev. Fr. William Basharat OFM Cap led the prayer service whilst the service was organized by Sadia Iqbal and Khurram Pervez of Sant Egidio Community Lahore.
At this occasion Fr. William addressed the congregation saying, “Today Catholics, around the world, are celebrating the birthday of Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace. To emphasize the importance of this magnificent day our Holy Father Pope Francis has appealed all the people of the world to observe a day of peace, prayer and fasting to express solidarity with the people of Syria, Middle East and other countries of the world. In order to respond to the appeal of Holy Father, Community of Sant Egidio has organized this peace vigil in our parish so that we can also pray together for the restoration of peace in these countries.”
Fr. William added, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Virgin Mary spread the message of peace in this world” and quoted the Scriptures saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
While addressing the congregation, he made reference to,” the scheme of St. Francis of Assisi who promoted peace during the second decade of 13th century. St. Francis of Assisi played an instrumental role as a peacemaker bringing the message of peace to Sultan of Egypt, Al-Kamil where a Crusader army had been encamped for over a year besieging the walled city of Damietta two miles (3.2 kilometers) upstream from the mouth of one of the main channels of the Nile. Following his message of peace (peace accord) both sides agreed to a ceasefire.”
He said,” Blessed Pope (Late) John Paul II is also recognized as a great peacemaker by the people of the world regardless of any sort of religious or sectarian discrimination. He visited many countries carrying the message of peace in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.”
As a symbol of light of peace; 21 candles were lit at this occasion. These 21 candles were lit for 21 different countries of the world including Syria, Egypt and Pakistan.
This prayer service was attended by masses; who earnestly recited supplications for the reinstatement of peace and rehabilitation of the citizens of the affected countries.