Catholics around the world unite in prayer on Oct. 27 at Holy Father's request, begging God for peace amidst war in Gaza
DETROIT — At St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit on Oct. 27, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron offered the 12:15 p.m. Mass for peace in the Holy Land, joining Catholics worldwide who responded to Pope Francis’ invitation to make the day one of prayer and fasting.
The Holy Father first called for a day of prayer and fasting during his general audience on Oct. 18 as a response to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, which has left thousands dead and displaced and has quickly turned into a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
“I invite sisters and brothers of the various Christian denominations, those belonging to other religions, and all those who have at heart the cause of peace in the world, to join in as they see fit,” Pope Francis said.
As Catholics in Detroit gathered with Archbishop Vigneron to pray for peace, the pope was simultaneously holding a Eucharistic adoration prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square at 6 p.m. Rome time, where he consecrated the world and the Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"To you, we consecrate our world, especially those countries and regions at war," the pope said. "To you, we consecrate the Church, so that in her witness to the love of Jesus before the world, she may be a sign of harmony and an instrument of peace."
Pope Francis called on the Blessed Mother to look mercifully on the human family, "which has strayed from the path of peace,” he said.
"Queen of Peace, you suffer with us and for us, as you see so many of your children suffering from the conflicts and wars that are tearing our world apart," the pope said. "Now, Mother, once more take the initiative for us, in these times rent by conflicts and waste by the fire of arms. Teach us to cherish and care for life — each and every human life! — and to repudiate the folly of war, which sows death and eliminates the future."
In his homily at St. Aloysius, reflecting on the first reading, a letter from St. Paul to the Romans (7:18-25), Archbishop Vigneron said that on our own, humankind is destined to sin, but through God, we are saved.
“As a result of the original sin, the children of Adam and Eve come into the world with an appetite for evil that we cannot overcome by our own strength, but St. Paul doesn’t leave us hopeless,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “St. Paul offers this word of hope: ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is God himself in his incarnate son Jesus Christ, who delivers us from the sin that without him would hold us in bondage.’ Jesus is the savior from the sins that infect the world and whose fruits blight our existence. God the Father has taken pity on us and given us His own son to deliver us from our misery.”
As the Church gathers to pray for peace, it is a gift of God’s providence to be reminded of the truth that only Jesus can bring the peace so longed for, Archbishop Vigernon said. Not even world leaders and their efforts are responsible for peace — it’s only by God and the power of His grace that the sins that give rise to wars can be healed.
“All of this helps us understand the prayers we offer today,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Our prayers are not feeble gestures, mere expressions of our sentiments, but our prayers are real acts of real power, calling upon Him who is all-powerful to deliver, calling on Jesus to act in order to bring about in the hearts and minds of all involved, the triumph of justice and that vindication of human dignity which blossoms in peace. It is for this end, for peace, that we offer the holy sacrifice by which Jesus has vanquished all evil."
Across the Archdiocese of Detroit, parishes and schools also took part in the day of prayer and fasting. Holy hours took place at the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy in Clinton Township and the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament, while students at Notre Dame Preparatory's Lower School in Pontiac and St. Mary School in Royal Oak participated in prayers and activities to promote peace.
Ways to Participate in the Day of Prayer and Fasting
Even if you weren't able to attend Mass with Archbishop Vigneron, there are other ways you can participate in the Holy Father's call for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land.
Attend an Evening Prayer Service or Adoration at a Local Parish:
- Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, Farmington Hills - Eucharistic Adoration 7 p.m.
- St. Kieran Catholic Church, Shelby Township - Awaken Prayer Ministry 7:30 p.m.
Pray the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Sacrifices: Skip your evening glass of wine, abstain from media/screens or something else you love.