HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair is urging the faithful of the Archdiocese of Hartford to pray for peace in Iraq on Aug. 17.
In a posting on the archdiocesan website, the archbishop says that the date has been designated as a special day of prayer in our country for peace in Iraq.
“Parishes have undoubtedly been praying for this intention already, but I ask that every parish include this petition in the Prayer of the Faithful next Sunday, and I invite everyone to make this a daily intention.
“We remember the message of Fatima about the efficacy of praying the Rosary for peace. Particularly as we celebrate Our Lady’s Assumption on August 15, the Rosary as a prayer for peace in Iraq and throughout the world is very appropriate,” the posting says.
Pope Francis has been following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are particularly affected.
During the Holy Father's Angelus prayer on July 20, the archbishop says in his post, “Pope Francis cried with pain: ‘[O]ur brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their homes without the opportunity to take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in Him who conquered evil.”
The post continues:
“In light of these terrible developments, the Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all those who are suffering through this painful trial, and makes the impassioned appeals of the local bishops his own, asking together with them in behalf of their sorely tried communities, that the whole Church and all the faithful raise up with one voice a ceaseless prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to send the gift of peace.
“His Holiness urgently calls on the international community to protect all those affected or threatened by the violence, and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends on the solidarity of others.”