Pope Benedict's World Peace Day message is celebrated in England and Wales this Sunday, 14 January. Since it was first introduced in 1967, Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace has worked to encourage parishes and communities to celebrate the message as one way of taking up the task of peacemaking. This year Pax Christi say they are delighted with the hundreds of parishes who have been in contact to find out more about the liturgy and resources ideas produced for the day by Pax Christi. The theme for the 2007 peace message is The Human Person - The Heart of Peace. In his letter to parishes, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi said: " I invite you to celebrate the Holy Father's peace message on 14 January. Through the theme we are reminded that the human person is the measure of all things. Each person is of value and it the job of us all to ensure that the dignity of each person is protected. Sadly today, violence and warfare undermine human dignity. As well as causing great physical damage, they leave a legacy of fear, hatred and sometimes, revenge". In their resource booklet for parishes Pax Christi offer homily notes, ideas for working with children and creative ways of marking the day. These are to help communities reflect on all those things that threaten life: war, poverty, the death penalty, abortion and the destruction of creation and to look at the values that are needed to uphold the gift of life, peace, nonviolence, respect and justice. Pax Christi say they have seen a marked increase over the past year in enquiries about Christian peacemaking and a demand for resources and campaigning materials on issues ranging from the replacement of Trident to the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: "In his peace day message Pope Benedict urges that every Christian be tirelessly committed to peace-making and the defence of the human person. Our role in Pax Christi is to help to support and develop this commitment in whatever way we can". Web resources can be found at: www.paxchristi.org.uk/PeaceSunday.html For more information contact Pat Gaffney, 0208 203 4884
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