In response to Pope Francis’ call for a day of fasting and prayer for peace on February 23, 2018, here is Most Rev. Christian Lépine's message to the faithful.Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Upon concluding the Angelus on Sunday, February 4, 2018, the Holy Father invited the entire Church to celebrate today, on the first Friday of Lent, as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in the many conflict zones around the world, in particular in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
We at the Catholic Church of Montreal understood this desire. We are aware that the Catholic Church plays a major role in the pursuit of peace in these countries. On November 23, 2017, the Pope had already asked that we pay special attention to the suffering of the people in these countries through various means, including a prayer service at Saint Peter's Basilica.
I am also appealing to you all today, to hear the cries of the suffering and ask yourselves: "What can I do for peace?" We must pray and fast, but also take a firm stand against violence. Our role is to be true apostles of peace and reconciliation. We must also show mercy to our brothers and sisters who are suffering. It must be made clear to them that they are not alone in their suffering and in their countries.
I therefore invite you to pray together for the violence to stop, for the voice of peace to be heard, for bitterness to give way to mercy and for forgiveness to prevail over hatred.
Lord Jesus, grant us your peace!
Archbishop of Montreal