MINISTRY MATTERS

Let there be Peace on Earth At nativity plays,carol services and communion Masses in churches and schools over the past weeks the following favourite passage from St Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 2,Verse 14) will have been repeated many times. “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace,good will toward men.” In his Christmas message of 2016 Pope Francis used the prayer of St Luke to send out a message the ends of the earth to reach all peoples,especially those scarred by war. A year on,and the world is increasingly unstable. The Pope’s prayers of intercession deserve repeating and are summarised as follows:• Peace to men and women in war-torn Syria,where far too much blood has been spilled. • Peace in the Holy Land. May Israelis and Palestinians have the courage and the determination to write a new page of history,where hate and revenge give way to the will to build together a future of mutual understanding and harmony. • Peace in various parts of Africa;in Nigeria,in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. • Peace on the Korean Peninsula and an end to the threat of nuclear war. • Peace in Myanmar and an end to the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. • Peace to women and men who to this day suffer the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. • Peace to those who have lost a person dear to them as a result of brutal acts of terrorism,and to those who have sown fear and death into the hearts of so many countries and cities. • Peace – not merely the word,but a real and concrete peace – to abandoned and excluded brothers and sisters,to those who suffer hunger and to all the victims of violence. • Peace to exiles,migrants and refugees,to all those who in our day are subject to human trafficking. • Peace to the peoples who suffer because of the economic ambitions of the few,because of the sheer greed and the idolatry of money,which leads to slavery. • Peace to those affected by social and economic unrest,and to those who endure the consequences of earthquakes or other natural catastrophes. • Peace to children,above all those deprived of the joys of childhood because of hunger,wars or the selfishness of adults. • Peace on earth to men and women of goodwill,who work quietly and patiently each day,in their families and in society,to build a more humane and just world

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