Global Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria: 7 September

Pope Francis:

Brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

The full text of his appeal is here.

Meanwhile, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier group has been rerouted to help with a US strike on Syria, if needed. Russia Today is reporting:

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz along with four destroyers and a cruiser have been ordered to move west in the Arabian Sea toward the Red Sea, so that it can help support a US strike on Syria if requested, a US official told Reuters.

“It’s about leveraging the assets to have them in place should  the capabilities of the carrier strike group and the presence be  needed,” the official told Reuters, adding that it was not  clear when the ships would enter the Red Sea.

According to a US defense official, the USS Nimitz entered the  Red Sea around 6 am EDT. The strike group has not received any  orders to move into the Mediterranean, the official said.

The Nimitz carrier group was supporting the US war in Afghanistan and was due to return to its home port in Everett, Washington,  after being released from duty by the USS Harry S. Truman strike  group.

Considering the volatile situation and a looming decision on a  Syria strike, US military officials have decided to send the  Nimitz toward the Red Sea, and possibly the Mediterranean, the  source said.

Another US official told Reuters that so far there was not a final decision to reposition the carrier group to the  Mediterranean, and that the Navy is trying to “reduce the  physics of time and space” to be ready for a possible call to  arms.

Over the weekend a US amphibious transport ship USS San Antonio was also deployed to the Mediterranean. Although it has   “received no specific tasking” it was rerouted to a US  naval base on the Greek island of Crete.

The US Navy already has five destroyers in the eastern  Mediterranean carrying an estimated load of 200 Tomahawk  missiles. The naval presence was boosted over the past week in anticipation of an imminent US attack.

In the coming week, while US lawmakers will be discussing the  prospects of a “limited military strike” requested by the  commander-in-chief, military officials are expected to use the  delay in military action to decide on the location of other US  ships in the region.

The US President has already decided a limited military strike is necessary to teach Syria a lesson and prevent possible further  use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population and US  allies in the region. A formal request seeking authorization from  legislators to launch a military campaign was filed on Saturday,  and the Senate is expected to vote on the motion no later than the week of September 9.



11 thoughts on “Global Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria: 7 September

  1. Only the Mediatorship of “Christ Jesus” indeed “alone”…”For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2: 5-6) We “must” note that Christ’s Mediation and His “ransom” (redemption price), are together! And here “Mary” even as the “Theotokos”, does not personally enter in. But as the “redeemed”, we all enter in.. for Christ is effectively “exemplum” for believers!

    “Christ present in faith constitutes for believers the righteousness which they are able to present before God. But the Word by which he is thus offered to human beings equally transforms believers to the very image of Christ by making them pass trough the way of the cross. There is no justification which is not at the same time accompanied by a destruction of the old person. God makes alive by putting to death, he raises up by humbling. It is the very principle of the theology of the cross. In other words, forgiveness and confession of sins, faith and humility, are bound up in an inseparable manner; without doubt they are as distinct as the two natures of Christ, but like those two natures, like suffering and the glory of Christ, they cannot be separated until the last day.” (Luther, WA 56, 343, 9ff.)

  2. This is something all Christians can and should do. As Bullinger said in his 2nd Helvetic Confession,

    “In olden times they celebrated public fasts in calamitous times and in the affliction of the Church. They abstained altogether from food till the evening, and spent all that time in holy prayers, the worship of God, and repentence. These differed little from mourning, and there is frequent mention of them in the Prophets…. Such a fast should be kept at this day, when the Church is in distress.” (Chpt. XXIV)

    Praying for peace in the Middle East and the safety of all Christians there, esp. those in Egypt and Syria.

  3. yes, this is very Biblical and indeed Christ Himself said: “this kind can only be driven out by Prayer and Fasting”–referring to demonic deliverance. And do we not have here the demons of death, destruction, violence and hatred – warring against the very ‘body of Christ’!
    but yes, also in a spirit of great Humility…of who we truly are before God…a deep abiding relationship of who we are and WHO God IS; would HE not “hear the cry of the poor”?! Actually, the Pope is being very gentle in his requests; the putting-on of ‘sack cloth & ashes’ in the form of more radical penances is much more proportionate to the situation called for and of the many ramifications that hinge upon our response…our responsibility is grave & much can be mitigated!
    and yes, united with Mary most Holy, our most powerful Intercessor before the Throne of God–IN and Through Christ Her Son–our prayers, penances and fasting are more efficacious and pleasing to God!

    1. There is NOT one biblical warrant that we have a Mediator that “we” are “united” to by faith, save Christ! He alone is the High Priest, as the Book of Hebrews! I love Mary too, but she is the Blessed Virgin, the Theotokos, (God-bearer). Indeed the Mother of the Incarnate Christ! (Matt. 1: 23)

      1. I was referring only to Prayer and Fasting as being Biblical.
        However, Mary most Holy was truly present at Pentecost and is central in Her Intercessory role at the ‘birth of the Church’. Her Preeminent place in the “Communion of Saints” is worthy of Honor and Petition; so to Honor Mary is to give Only God Alone the Glory!

      2. @Margaret: I was not seeking to be really negative, but biblical also! I have an old copy of Donald Attwater’s (an English Brit Catholic) and his book: A Dictionary of Mary (1956/57 Longmans, Green, The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur is 1955). I think I got this book for Confirmation? It is of course a Roman Catholic book. But the titles and blessing/affirmations given to Mary are quite amazing, and of course this book is before Vatican II. It also notes the many Shrines given to Mary. It even has the Akathistos Hymn, the most famous Marian devotion of the Eastern Church. In the Catholic Eastern rite it is not really a hymn but an office sung in churches of the Byzantine rite. Here is part of it…

        “Hail! container of God’s wisdom.
        Hail!ail! Maiden store-house of His providence.
        Hail! bewilderer of the wise.
        Hail! confounder of the eloquent.
        Hail! for the deep thinkers made foolish.
        Hail! thou who dost tear webs spun of words.
        Hail! thou who fill fisher-men’s nets.
        Hail! raiser from the depths of ignorance.
        Hail! enlightener with knowledge.
        Hail! ship of salvation.
        Hail! harbor of the tempest-tossed.
        Hail Maiden Bride!”

        The recitation of the Akathistos has been indulgenced by Popes Benedict XIV and Pius XII.

        My point too, is that many of these titles and affirmations should only be given to our Triune God, and not a creature, even the Blessed Virgin Mary. Anyway it is quite a historical piece however, from A to Z, subjects, 312 pages. And represents how Mary was approached before Vatican II. 🙂

      3. Fr. Robert: First, thank you for referencing this beautiful tribute to Mary most Holy – although I know your intent was that of an anomaly–to highlight the incompatibility of honors given a mere Creature–who happens to be “the God-bearer”. For me, I don’t see this incompatibility for the very reason that She IS “the God-bearer”. It is like I am looking-up from my miniscule hole, looking up to God through His prism, called Mary. Yes, these attributes belong to God; but from my sinful vantage point, His Glorious Light–His Attributes, shine through most perfectly on Earth and are most tangible and palpable–through His most pristine creature–She who is NOT a goddess, but “the God-bearer”–not only of the ‘Incarnate Christ’, but now in Her Glory ‘reflects’ God–In His Glory. Therefore, She is a ‘reflection’ of these Attributes–a Pure Infusion of the Triune God. I can see and know Christ through Her, I can see and know God through Her. Or even one can say Mary is absorbed into God in a most perfect way yet remains distinct; similar to but as through a veil, when we receive the Eucharist, if we are in the state of Grace and completely disposed. Mary Herself has said in Her “Magnificat”: “My Soul doth magnify the Lord and My Spirit rejoices in God My Savior”!
        So for me, I am not scandalized by these attributes applied to Mary, but on the contrary, “Eternal Wisdom” is reflected most perfectly through Her–“our tainted nature’s Solitary boast”!
        I really can understand why & how protestants can have a problem with the RC perspective on Mary, I really do. But for me it is clear and comes down to ‘relationship’. And ‘relationship’ doesn’t come easy for us in this fallen world; that is to say, the ‘relationship’ we Knew – in totality – before the rupture.
        In this limited space and time it is the best I can do. God Bless!

      4. @Margaret: Yes, I would rather stay close to both Holy Scripture, and early and proper creedal history as to Mary. And it is here, to some degree I am closer to the EO on Mary the Theotokos. And I find it most interesting that even Aquinas taught that Mary was born in the place of adamic sin, as really all human-beings born to man! (As too Bernard of Clairvaux, who appears to condemn the feast of the Immaculate Conception). The only exception of course being Christ Himself! (Yes, Mary was without sin, at the time of the Incarnation, but simply not before, noting the logic of Luke 1: 46-47) The exclusive nature of Christ as both the only Savior and Mediator, is simply biblical! Not mush else to say from the biblical theological perspective, as far as I can see it. Not “Roman” Catholic myself anymore, but I hope not anti-Catholic! 🙂

      5. Fr. Robert, Very well said indeed!

        I don’t think any of us are anti-RC, at least not towards individual Christians, but we do have to point out Rome’s serious errors as they actually do exist. Rome’s views on Mary have to be integrated with their entire theological structure. So that means everything including…her purported role in Purgatory and as regards indulgences, which are controlled by the RCC’s pontiff. Thus when they start stating she is somehow co-Mediatrix, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Apostles, etc. it really starts getting confusing as to how her role differs from Christ’s. Oversimplifying, it is as if because she is her “mother” and since he “has” to obey her now and forever, she someone can “control” Christ to do her will. It is as if the true saying of “To know Christ is to know his benefits” is perverted into “To know Mary is to control Christ’s benefits”. The end result is a heretical downgrade of Christ and an upgrade of Mary. She all but becomes his equal, which is why so much daily devotion and liturgical practice is directed entirely toward her. Trying to square cirlces, they just state that what is directed to her somehow ends up being directed to Christ, but it doesn’t look or feel that way. I encounted this recently at a RC funeral. All the prayers and hymns chosen by the family were addressed to Mary. So they prayed the Memorare and the Hail Mary. Sand Marian hymns. Christ disappeared in all places she could be made to stand in his place. It was a most off-putting experience indeed.

        The entire NT is clear about Mary and her role. It was important So we honor her today and till the end of time, But after the Incarnation, the salvific focus is entirely and only on Christ. There is no other. No other god. No other person. No other name. No other way. He alone is the way and the truth. 🙂

      6. Amen! Perhaps not popular today with certainly RC’s, Ordinarite’s, and most Anglo-Catholics, but still the biblical-theological Truth!

        “Neither is there salvation in any other name: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 12, KJV) Indeed, “which is become the head of the corner.” (Verse 11) The “corner-stone” was alone the head and foundation! (Note here in Peter’s 1st Letter…chapter 2: 4-8! Again, always biblical revelation!

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