Bishop William Murphy has asked for the Diocese of Rockville Centre to "become a burning furnace of prayer for peace." What a great idea! People in the diocese, like elsewhere, regularly pray for peace but this is a more intentional, focused effort by the bishop to pray for peace in the Diocese. Bishop Murphy sent a letter to priests of the diocese saying that "while it is easy to get angry and even vengeful due to the violence, terrorism, ethnic and religious battles going on in the world, followers of Christ are called to be peacemakers." Alleluia to that!
The pastor of my parish, published parts of that letter in our Church bulletin and it really has parishioners and the priests of our parish talking about how we can include more prayers for peace, throughout the parish and it's ministries.
Bishop Murphy wrote, "For us disciples of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, there is no choice but to follow his example and become instruments of His peace....That demands first and foremost that we recognize that ultimately peace is a gift from God Who alone can guarantee true and lasting peace. He goes on to say that we must all be a part of this effort and pray daily for peace in the world.
He goes on to say, "Prayer is God's weapon of choice that is always at the ready so long as we exercise it. For this reason, I am issuing a call to peace as Bishop of this Diocese, an urgent invitation to one and all, without exception, to accept the responsibility and to commit ourselves to daily prayer for peace."
Amen. What a Spirit-filled suggestion, what a great undertaking!
The Bishop also asked for every parish to include a prayer for peace in the Prayer of the Faithful at every Sunday Mass and to organize Holy Hours for peace. There are many other suggestions for intentionally praying for peace in Catholic schools, religious education programs and other Church groups. He encouraged everyone to say this prayer daily, "A Prayer for Peace of Pope Saint John XXIII"....
"Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, Who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, Who so often said, 'Peace to you,' Grant us peace!
Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love, Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen. Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!"
I pray that this inspired effort of Bishop Murphy bears much fruit and helps to bring forth a time of peace on this earth. AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.