Feast of St. Joseph
Bishop John F. Kinney
Bishop of Saint Cloud
Tonight, just moments ago, our president announced to the world the beginning of the war with Iraq. War is not how we had hoped this conflict would be resolved in this day and age. Our prayers and hopes had been for dialogue, diplomacy and bargaining, not battlefields.
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has insistently called us to focus on peace, to set aside notions of war. "War is always a defeat for humanity," the Successor of Peter has announced to us.
Today and in the days to come, we pray to God for all who bear the heavy burden of this war. We pray for our president and government leaders and for the heads of all states and nations in our world, and for the United Nations. May they work tirelessly and relentlessly to achieve a solid and permanent peace.
We fervently pray to God for the safety and protection of all the men and women who serve in the military in this land and in all countries. We pray for their families who weep and worry without rest. We pray for the people of our great country and also for the innocent people of Iraq.
As difficult as it is at this moment, Jesus challenges us to pray even for our enemies and persecutors. Christ showed us the example of love and forgiveness as he hung on the cross for us.
We pray to the God of perfect peace: may this war end quickly and may this be the end of wars.
One concrete action we can do during lent is to undertake fasting for the intention of peace. Finally, let me suggest a prayer for all of us to say these days and weeks for the members of the United States military.
Praise to you, ever-watchful God for you are our refuge
and strength in every time and place.
Send your blessing upon those who are
serving our country in the armed forces.
By your powerful Spirit, shield them from all harm.
Uphold them in good times and bad, especially when danger threatens.
Let your peace be the sentry that stands guard over their lives
so that they may return home safely.Look with compassion on all victims of war.
Ease their sufferings and heal their wounds.
Put an end to wars over all the earth, and hasten the day
when the human family will rejoice in lasting peace.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns as the Prince of Peace,
both now and forever, Amen.
+ John F. Kinney
Bishop of St. Cloud, MN
© 2003 Diocese of Saint Cloud. All rights reserved