Raising Our Voices for Peace in Syria

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Raising Our Voices for Peace in Syria

Raising Our Voices for Peace in Syria

Last night, our family sat comfortably in the living room, eating takeout pizza and rewatching Hotel Rwanda. Our Adam, now an 18 year old, remarked on how the devastation had occurred shortly before his September, 1994 birth. I had to admit to Adam that during those bloody days between April and July of 1994, I was blissfully ignorant of the atrocities in Rwanda that took the lives of over 800,000 souls. I was a pregnant housewife with a two year old, just doing my best to wake up each day and keep life from spinning out of control. My concerns were over things like potty training, laundry, and my thickening waistline. I don’t think I could have even found Rwanda on a map.

Fast forward twenty years after those 1994 months and I find myself near tears reading the news about what is happening in Syria. We’re much more wired now, so along with CNN 24/7, we have access to firsthand accounts from relief agencies like Caritas and from those impacted directly by the violence in the region.

It’s indeed horrific, but I ask you to take a moment to watch this graphic video from CNN that shows the aftermath of last week’s chemical attack in Syria:

We heard from our Holy Father, Pope Francis today calling us all to pray fervently for peace in Syria:

With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation in Syria. The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease. It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace. I appeal to the international community that itself more sensible to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.

All together let us pray. . . All together let us pray to Our Lady, Queen of Peace:
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

We know the needs of the over one million children, Syrian refugees who have poured across the borders of their homeland seeking shelter with only the clothes on their backs. We know that the UN is on hand, preparing to inspect the site of last week’s chemical annihilation.

Yet how many of us will go about our business today with good intentions, but blissfully ignoring families whose lives have been turned upside down? How many of us will include Syria in our Prayers of the Faithful at Mass and then head off to Costco, finish laundry and to do items, and prepare ourselves for a busy back to school week?

Don’t get me wrong, I blame myself first and foremost. Sometimes praying to Our Lady in situations like these, I have a sense of that old, “No thanks, I gave at the office” excuse inside my head. What can I — one little housewife in Fresno — really do to help Syria’s families, half a world away?

I’ve pondered a few answers to my self inquiry:

  • Educate myself on what is really happening in Syria
  • Follow the statements of the Vatican and share them with family and friends both locally and via social media
  • Amp up my support of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States
  • Talk with my sons and husband about what is happening in Syria and pray actively as a family through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace for immediate relief and healing in the region

It’s easy to fall into despair amidst the enormity of suffering in a situation like Syria. Yet today I choose to accept Pope Francis’ invitation:

“I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace.”

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

A question for you: How are you responding emotionally, intellectually and prayerfully to the crisis in Syria?

Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

1 Comment

  1. {Kathy} Lisa, in light of today’s news of the US accepting Russia’s diplomatic effort to get Syria to turn over their chemical weapons to the UN, I can’t help but think of Pope Francis’ call for all Catholics and Christians to fast and pray on Saturday.
    In three days, the entire world has seen a dramatic conversion of possible solutions to this problem. Does prayer work? Does fasting enable the Body of Christ to seek action? Yes. Indeed.

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