To all families, from Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Pope Francis’ invitation to a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, and in all nations affected by the tragedy of war, calls all of us to accept his invitation with great seriousness and commitment.
The images that have circulated worldwide and the continuing tragic news, troubles our hearts, our minds, and our faith. I invite you, therefore, to accept the Pope’s proposal and to make in your own home a gesture of fasting and prayer.
Dear Parents, do not be afraid to propose an austere and minimal lunch to your children. It will be an opportunity to explain to them what is happening in the world and how we cannot be indifferent to these terrible things. Together with the harshness of the news, don’t forget to communicate the hope of peace offered by the risen Jesus, who has reconciled the world, not with violent and vindictive acts, but through the gift of Himself.
Don’t forget to invite grandparents and the elderly to this meal composed of little food and many words. If anyone has experienced moments of war, let him or her describe what it means to live under bombardment and with uncertainty about tomorrow. Let them describe the importance of depending on prayer.
And you, children and young people, don’t complain if, on Saturday, there isn’t much to eat. Instead be grateful to your parents for what they are in fact offering to you. Ask them for explanations and reasons for why it’s worth continuing to live and have hope in this world, too often marked by mourning and violence.
Together, at the table, pray! For families of Syria, for the children who die every day from hunger and hatred, for the government leaders who are called to find peaceful and non-violent solutions.
Recite a psalm, read a Gospel passage, pray a part of the Rosary, freely express your prayers aloud, sing a simple hymn.
Every household can choose the best way to intercede, to place themselves between the mystery of the evil that marks our history and the God of peace who heals and saves us.