Archbishop calls on Detroiters to pray, fast Oct. 27 for peace in Holy Land

A Franciscan prays in St. Saviour Monastery on the day of prayers and fasting for peace in the Old City of Jerusalem, Oct.17, 2023. That day a massive blast rocked CNEWA-supported al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City packed with wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter, killing hundreds of people. (OSV News photo/Debbie Hill)

Pope Francis has declared a 'day of prayer for peace' amid war in Gaza; Archbishop Vigneron to say Mass, rosary at St. Aloysius

DETROIT — As horrors mount and a humanitarian crisis grows in the Holy Land, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron is inviting Detroit-area Catholics to observe a day of prayer, fasting and penance Oct. 27 for peace.

Since an Oct. 7 surprise attack by the militant terrorist organization Hamas that killed nearly 1,400 Israelis, including many civilians, violence has continued as Israel has responded with air strikes and a pending ground invasion of the Gaza strip, which is controlled by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

At least 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, with Palestinians ordered to flee from their homes, even as humanitarian corridors have been difficult to establish.

On Oct. 17, a Christian hospital in Gaza was struck, killing and injuring many. Israeli defense forces, along with U.S. President Joe Biden, blamed a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

As the war threatens to spiral out of control, Pope Francis called on Catholics and others around the world to unite in prayer, fasting and penance Oct. 27 for peace in the region.

There will be an hour of prayer starting at 6 p.m. Rome time in St. Peter's "imploring for peace in the world," the pope said, and local churches are invited to organize similar initiatives. Although a specific fast or penance is not prescribed, Catholics are invited to fast in whatever capacity they can Oct. 27, joining their sacrifice to the suffering of Christ for people affected by the war.

In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Vigneron called on Catholics to take up the pope's invitation in "praying for a peaceful resolution to this war and for peace throughout the world."

In a letter Oct. 19 to parishioners, the archbishop said prayer is needed "to heal the wounded and hardened hearts driving this violence" as well as to "offer consolation and healing to all victims and those in harm’s way."

The archbishop called on Catholics to join him at St. Aloysius Church, 1234 Washington Blvd., in downtown Detroit, at 12:15 p.m. on that day for Mass and a special rosary for peace. Parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit are also encouraged to pray, with several liturgical resources available for pastors to use.

"We have all watched with growing sadness the ongoing violence in the Holy Land — most especially the loss of so many innocent lives," Archbishop Vigneron said. "I call on the entire Archdiocese of Detroit — clergy, religious, laity, and all our parishes, schools, and apostolates — to unite with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for a day of fasting, penance, and prayer for peace on Friday, October 27."

The archbishop encouraged praying for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title Queen of Peace "in calling on Jesus Christ, the Price on Peace" for a peaceful resolution.


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