During Pope Francis’ general audience on October 18, the Holy Father invited people of “various Christian confessions, members of other religious, and all who hold the cause of peace in the world at heart to participate” in a day of prayer, fasting, and penance for peace in the Holy Land on October 27.
Ways to participate in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on Oct. 27
The following list was adapted from an article by the Catholic News Agency
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Make a Holy Hour
The tradition of a Holy Hour goes back to 1674 when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and instructed her to spend an hour every Thursday meditating on his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Typically, a Holy Hour is done in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament; however, a Holy Hour can be done at any time and anywhere — in your home, in a church, or even outside in nature. During a Holy Hour you can read Scripture, listen to worship music, journal, spend time in contemplation, or simply sit and talk with God.
Pray the Rosary
As many of the saints have said, the rosary is a powerful weapon. Dedicate a rosary for peace in Israel and Palestine. If you don’t have time to say a rosary all at once, break it up throughout the day by saying a decade when you can.
When fasting, the Church allows people to eat one full meal as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. However, food isn’t the only way one can fast. Staying off social media for the day, not having your morning coffee, turning off your music in the car and instead spending some time in prayer, or giving up anything you consider important in your day are all ways you can fast.
Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Similar to the rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is a powerful prayer. Given by Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska, the chaplet is prayed with a rosary and only takes a couple of minutes. Many Catholics recite the chaplet at 3 p.m. because it is known as the “hour of great mercy” as we remember Christ’s death on the cross at 3 p.m. on Good Friday.
Read the Bible
Spending time with the word of God is just as important as prayer. Try to start by reading a Gospel passage or just open your Bible and read whatever page it opens to and spend time thinking of what God is trying to tell you. If you’re not sure what to read, the Psalms are always a great option.
If you are in a position to help those suffering in the Middle East financially, there are several organizations accepting donations in order to help with critical relief. Catholic Relief Services is working to provide families with assistance in the Holy Land and Palestine.
The Office for Divine Worship offers the following prayer resources and liturgical suggestions for Friday, October 27, and for the days to follow.
Prayer for Peace in the Middle East
For an end to the tensions escalating in the Middle East, may they be transformed by the peace that comes from God; the peace that surpasses all human understanding. For those who have died in the violence in the Middle East, may they find perpetual peace and rest in the comforting arms of the Lord. For those who are mourning the deaths of friends or family members, and those whose loved ones are missing, may God console them in their pain and grief and grant them strength. For all innocent people in the Middle East harmed by violence or instability, may God’s grace sustain and strengthen them and keep them from harm. Amen