On Monday, 28 February, ahead of the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Franciscan Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, sent a letter to all consecrated people. The following is the English text of their words.
Dear consecrated men and women,
hat we feared has happened: war has returned, once again, on the streets and among the people; it has returned to a continent that seemed to have learned from the atrocities of the past; it has returned bringing with it the risk of a new world conflict. It has returned and brought before our eyes the drama that millions of people in other parts of the world are living.
Let us embrace the men, women and children who live in Ukraine and in all countries deeply marked by war, or by internal clashes and violence. Let us entrust to the Mother of God the suffering, the life and the death of so many of our brothers and sisters affected by the horror and senselessness of war. We make our own Pope Francis’ call “to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a “Day of Fasting for Peace” (Appeal, 23 February 2022).
The more we share their pain, the more we intensify our prayer to the God of peace who has become close to our lives and has compassion for the fate of wounded humanity (Pope Francis, Angelus, 14 February 2021).
We know only too well: there will never be winners or losers, only men, women and children who’s very being is devastated by this conflict. Following the example of Christ, who from the cross embraced the righteous and the sinner, “who wished to be united with both the righteous and the guilty, who embraced all with one love... not with understanding, but with compassion” (Antonij Bloom, Exarch Emeritus of the Moscow Patriarchate for Western Europe), may our prayer be for the salvation of all.
In the school of so many holy founders and foundresses, of so many consecrated men and women, we believe in the power of prayer, because “one must always pray, even when everything seems vain, when God seems deaf and dumb to us and we seem to be wasting time. Even if the sky is clouded” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 11 November 2020). Let us pray that war may cease, that an economy that kills may not win, that love may replace hate, solidarity replace indifference, that dialogue may be stronger than weapons.
We ask this especially of the contemplative sisters who are certainly, already offering their lives for peace at this time. But may unceasing prayer be the burning heart of each and every one, everyone. Let us pray in solitude, in our communities, let us promote opportunities for prayer, let us do so — wherever possible — together with our brothers and sisters of the Christian churches, going to them to express our desire to share, let us involve others in this prayer.
Let us not tire of praying. And with the same passion let us make gestures of peace wherever we are, together with every man and woman of good will; let us allow ourselves to be converted by the Holy Spirit to works of peace so that our lives may speak and be, in meekness and truth, a witness to the mercy of which the Father grants us the gift.
To Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust Europe and the entire world.