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The world does not need empty words, but convinced witnesses, artisans of Peace open to dialogue without exclusion or manipulation

Pope Francis

Welcoming the invitation of Pope Francis to celebrate Ash Wednesday with a day of prayer and fasting for peace, several Church organisations, including CLAR – Latin American Confederation of Religious, Aguapanelazo America, Movimiento Laudato Si’ Colombia, Religioso unidos por Colombia, ITVCA – Instituto Teológico de Vida Consagrada de América de, OFM – JPIC, Filocalia, Red de Dibujantes de Latinoamérica, Semillero de Pensamiento Social de la Iglesia, Pax Christi and JCOR – Coalición de Religiosas/os en la ONU por la Justicia Social, joined together to organise, in a synodal and inter-congregational spirit, the prayer meeting, to pray for peace, especially in Ukraine/Russia.

During the meeting, Br. Gustavo Valenzuela, OFM of the Province of St. Francis Solano in Argentina, spoke about how armed conflicts, of which there are currently 21, are affecting us. He spoke particularly of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has increased due to the new awareness of fraternity that we have developed during the pandemic, which makes us feel that what other peoples are experiencing is our own.

Gustavo’s reflection was followed by an act of forgiveness in the face of the pain and suffering that humanity suffers from because of war. We joined in praying, pleading with God with greater intensity to be close to the people, families, and victims of war. Expressing our support for Pope Francis’ invitation to us: a true and profound conversion during this time of Lent.

Towards the end of the meeting, we were invited to turn on our cameras. With lighted candles,  symbolising the light that, as Christians, we are invited to recognise the light of peace born in the heart, which should illuminate the scenarios of conflict between nations. Then, for a few minutes of silence, God was asked for the gift of peace and the grace to be peacemakers.

Finally, the proposal for Lent “40 days for peace” of the network of cartoonists of Latin America and Aguapanelazo America was shared. It is a daily drawing based on Pope Francis’ reflections on peace.

Watch the prayer meeting again: