Bishop William Murphy has called for the Diocese of Rockville Centre to “become a burning furnace of prayer for peace.”
In a letter sent to the priests of the diocese, Bishop Murphy said that while “it is easy to get angry and even vengeful” due to the “violence, terrorism, ethnic and religious battles” going on in the world, followers Christ are called to be peacemakers.
“For us disciples of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, there is no choice but to follow His example and become instruments of His peace,” he wrote. “That demands first and foremost that we recognize that ultimately peace is a gift from God Who alone can guarantee true and lasting peace. The sure consequence of that truth is that we must enroll ourselves into the ranks of men and women who pray daily for peace.”
“Prayer is God’s weapon of choice that is always at the ready so long as we exercise it. For this reason, I am issuing a call to peace as Bishop of this Diocese, an urgent invitation to one and all, without exception, to accept the responsibility and to commit ourselves to daily prayer for peace.”
In his letter, Bishop Murphy renewed the commitment to dedicate a day a the beginning of each year as World Day of Peace, saying that the Cathedral of Saint Agnes in Rockville Centre will designate either New Year’s Day or January 24, the Feast of Mary, Queen of Peace, to be celebrated as the World Day of Peace every year.
He also specifically called for specific prayers and holy hours and a special collection in August for those who are suffering religious persecution in Syria and Iraq and wherever else it is needed.
“I am authorizing that every parish include in the Prayer of the Faithful at every Sunday Mass the following intention: For peace in our world, an end to violence wherever people are being persecuted, driven from their homes or put to death, that through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace, God’s gift of peace might soon be attained, we pray to the Lord.” the bishop wrote.
Bishop Murphy also asked that every parish organize a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament at least once a month for the intentions of peace and the restoration of peace and harmony everywhere that it is being destroyed.
“While I know that many of the faithful throughout our diocese pray the rosary every day,” the bishop wrote, “for some that is more than they can reasonably do. Still, the rosary to Mary, the Queen of Peace, is one of the most powerful and effective prayers we have. For that reason, I would ask as many of you as can to commit yourself to say the rosary once a week for the gift of peace.”
“You do not have to say the rosary alone,” he added. “Within your parish you may know people who would be willing to do this with you. We can form a rosary chain from parish to parish that will link us to one another across the breadth of our diocese in a fervent rosary of intercession to Mary, the Mother of God, Queen of Peace. Perhaps some may want to add this invocation at the end of each decade: Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”
Bishop Murphy also included a special prayer for peace written by our beloved Pope Saint John XXIII asking all priests to use this prayer and authorizing its use in meetings and all gatherings of the faithful in the diocese.
“I urge our Catholic schools to say this prayer daily at the morning home room when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited,” he said. “It would be a good prayer for CYO and school sports to use at the beginning of games. The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters, the Rosary Societies and the many other volunteer and apostolic groups that meet and work to advance the Kingdom of God might also include this prayer in their gatherings or at the end of a rosary or the beginning or end of trip, a visit or a day.”
Peace Prayer of Pope Saint John XXIII
Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace,
Who are yourself our peace and our reconciliation,
Who so often said ‘Peace to you,’
Grant us peace!
Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice and brotherly love.
Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace.
Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters.
May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. AMEN
Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!
Cards with this prayer will be available soon.