TERRE HAUTE —
Pope Francis is asking all Catholics to join him Saturday in praying and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.
Catholics in Vigo and Clay counties will gather at three locations as part of the Vigil for Peace, said Father Rick Ginther, pastor at St. Patrick’s and St. Margaret Mary churches in Terre Haute. People of other religions are invited to participate, he said.
• St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute will offer a structured prayer service from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
• Annunciation Parish in Brazil will have a less structured period of prayer from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• St. Patrick’s in Terre Haute will offer a vigil from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in conjunction with St. Mary-of-the-Woods Village, Sacred Heart and St. Benedict churches. Each hour, a pastoral leader from the participating parishes will lead a formal prayer and reflection on peace.
The remainder of each hour at St. Patrick’s will be devoted to personal prayer and silence. The five hours will conclude with Benediction at 5:45 p.m., and the 6 p.m. Mass will then be offered for peace, Ginther said.
From 7 p.m. to midnight, a vigil will take place in St. Peter’s Square.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has asked all parishes to join in prayer Saturday.
According to Tobin’s letter to the archdiocese, when the pope spoke about the civil war in Syria on Sunday, “He did not mince words in condemning the obscenity of that slaughter, particularly, the apparent use of chemical weapons that resulted in the massacre of hundreds, including many innocent children. However, he will not allow that tragedy to justify the additional violence that would result from the intervention of other nations, including the United States.”
Instead, Pope Francis “uses the terrible images of war and the specter of an ever-widening circle of violence to remind each of us of our responsibilities, first, as human beings and then, as disciples of Jesus Christ,” Tobin wrote.
Pope Francis repeated the teaching of Pope John XXIII who, 50 years ago, wrote that it is the responsibility of every individual to work for peace by establishing new relationships in this world “under the mastery of guidance of justice and love,” according to Tobin’s letter.
“Peacemaking is not simply the task of those in government or delegates at the United Nations. Rather, all of us have the responsibility for ending conflict. As a song asks of God: let there be peace on Earth … and let it begin with me,” Tobin wrote.
The archbishop’s full letter can be found at archindy.org.
Participants in the St. Patrick Service on Saturday are:
• Father Rick Ginther — 1 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
• Father Matthew Malek, associate pastor of St. Benedict — 2 p.m.
• Sister Joan Slobig, parish life coordinator, St. Mary-of-the-Woods Village — 3 p.m.
• Barb Black, Sacred Heart parish, 4 p.m.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.