Saturday 7 September 2013 is a day of solidarity with the people of Syria and the Middle East through prayer and fasting. “We will gather together in prayer, in a spirit of penitence, to ask from God this great gift of peace for the beloved Syrian nation and for all the situations of conflict and violence in the world” Pope Francis said.

The purpose of fasting is more outward focused. Fasting creates a hunger. It symbolises the space we need to make inside ourselves to be able to listen to others and make room for them. It symbolises the inner emptiness which only God can fill.

Prayer for peace in Syria

God of Mercy,

look upon our brothers and sisters in Syria with compassion.

Hear their cries and answer them.

Protect them in their hour of need.

Comfort them in their mourning.

Journey with them as they flee the harsh reality of war,

to a place of comfort and lasting peace.

Inspire all leaders to seek love over hatred

and create in them the courage to ease the suffering of a people.

May we, as followers of Christ, be an example of your loving mercy, for it is in giving to all that we receive.

We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace,  Amen

Intercessory Prayers

We pray for the people of Syria. May God deliver them to a place of peace.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those working for peace in Syria. In particular, we pray for our fellow Irish men and women who bring comfort to those most in need in this conflicted area.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

From the homily of Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square on 7 September 2013

We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Look upon your brother’s sorrow – I think of the children, look upon these – look upon your brother’s sorrow, and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: ‘No more one against the other, no more, never! … war never again, never again war!’

Hearing the voices from Syria

The following is a excerpt from a letter from Trappist nuns in Azeir, Syria:

“They’ve decided to attack us”.  Today we feel the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this.  The people are trying their best to work and live normally.  You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream … You see the beauty of the hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of ‘togetherness’ … Abd then you remember that they have decided to bomb us … Just like that.  Because “it’s time to do something” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be.

These are the facts

  • · 8.4 million people in urgent need of urgent humanitarian aid
  • · 5.8 million people forced to abandon their homes
  • · 2 million people seeking shelter in neighbouring countries

Behind each of those figures are real people, people who have lost everything and urgently need your help. Trócaire is helping to bring vital aid to the people who need it most. Trocaire is working with local partners to provide food, shelter, clean water and other basic needs for women, children and men forced to flee their homes. Already, over 190,000 Syrian refugees have benefited from Trocaire’s assistance. Click here to support the work of Trocaire in the region.