Peace Sunday message from Pax Christi

 Pat Gaffney, chair of Pax Christi writes: As we enter another critical week, watching the world move ever closer to war, parishes throughout England and Wales are invited to turn their thoughts and prayers to peace as they celebrate Peace Sunday and Pope John Paul II's 2003 peace message. Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, has once again taken the lead in encouraging parish communities to mark Peace Sunday in some special way and reflect on the theme of the peace message. Bishop Malcolm McMahon, President Pax Christi in his letter to parishes says "The theme chosen by the Holy Father for this year is inspired by the 40th anniversary of the encyclical " Pacem in Terris". Pope John Paul appeals for a new and courageous commitment in favour of peace. Given the fragile state of our world at the moment, where we live with war and rumours of war, this appeal reminds us that much is at stake if we are to truly realise Peace on Earth for the majority of the world's people". To support parishes, Pax Christi has produced suggestions for a Mass for peace, reflection notes on the theme and activities and ideas for working with children. Staff at the Pax Christi office report a huge demand for prayer cards, leaflets and other support materials. Pax Christi has heard from parishes who will be organising exhibitions on peace, holding special liturgies for children, inviting guest speakers on Pax Christi's work. Many will use the occasion to hold special prayers for peace in Iraq. A group in North London are planning a peace walk and prayer vigil, involving six churches in their area. A parish in East London will hold an overnight peace vigil timed to coincide with the UN weapons inspector report, opening their Blessed Sacrament chapel for exposition and prayer all through the night. A spokesperson for Pax Christi said: " The yearning for peace is always present in the human heart - at this time it is even more palpable. Pope John XIII knew this when, forty years ago, he called world peace humankind's perpetual dream. But he also knew that it will only be realised when all people learn to work together to become bearers of God's peace to a broken world. We hope that the Catholic community will see Pax Christi as a resource and inspiration for peacemaking." For more information contact Pax Christi 020 8203 4884 Visit: for special Peace Sunday page

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