Thursday, September 5, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As students return to school and summer draws to a close, I write to extend my warmest greetings to you and your family. I pray your summer was restful and that it provided an opportunity for quality time with family and friends.
Sadly, these final days of summer are not happy ones for everyone in our human family. The news and images out of Syria are so very sad and deeply troubling, as our elected leaders contemplate military intervention in the wake of unspeakable tragedy and suffering by the people of Syria at the apparent hands of their own government.
This past weekend, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, anguished over the suffering of Syria's people and the prospect of another war, called on Catholics and all people of good will to participate in a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria and throughout the world, to be held this Saturday, September 7, 2013.
"All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace," the Pope said. "I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity!"
Pope Francis will preside at a prayer vigil for peace from 1–6 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday in Saint Peter's Square in Rome. Therefore, I have asked that all churches in the Archdiocese of Baltimore be open during this same period of time so that we might pray in solidarity with our Holy Father for peace in Syria as well as our own city and state and in lands throughout the world.
I encourage you to participate in this day of prayer and fasting on Saturday by praying together with other members of our faith family or by attending Mass at your parish or another Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I will be celebrating Mass at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in North Baltimore and at 5:15 p.m. at St. Mary's Church in Hagerstown. All are welcome at both Masses.
As people of faith, we turn to God, our merciful Father, in times of joy and hope, but also times of great sorrow and uncertainty. "Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace," our Holy Father said. Let us offer these together this Saturday, the eve of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace.Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore