Bishop Donald Wuerl read the following statement on Sunday, January 5 at Saint Paul Cathedral following a Mass at which he presented "Manifesting the Kingdom" awards to more than 300 people from throughout the diocese in recognition of exceptional service to the church.
Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl
Bishop of Pittsburgh
In this season when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace and proclaim the coming of his kingdom in our world we yearn for peace. We face, however, the frightful possibility of a war in Iraq. In September and again in November of this past year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke out against any armed action that did not meet the moral requirements for a just war.
More recently, at St. Paul Cathedral on New Year's Day, I called upon all people of goodwill to avoid violence and use whatever means possible to resolve the issue of Iraq's threat to peace through weapons of mass destruction. At that time, I urged that we all pray for the change of human hearts that is required to ensure peace.
Today, on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, as we recognize the manifestation of Christ to the world as Lord, Savior and true source of enduring peace, I renew my call to all the faithful of this diocesan Church and to all people of goodwill who live and work with us in this community to promote a culture of peace.
Echoing the message of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, I ask that we unite our voices in prayer for the grace to foster peace first of all in our own hearts so that the changes there and in the hearts of all people will bring about the changes in structures, institutions and, ultimately, the very world community itself so that peace will be not only ours but also the heritage of generations yet to come.
As we conclude this celebration, I ask all to make either the celebration of Epiphany or another day of your choice a personal day of prayer for peace. Beseech God for the graces needed to ensure peace and goodwill among all peoples and lasting peace in our world.
January 5, 2003
Solemnity of the Epiphany