My Bishop has sent us the following message:
In the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in response to the appeal made by His Holiness Pope Francis that this coming Saturday 7th September 2013 be kept as a day of prayer and fasting for Peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the World. I humbly request that the clergy and faithful of the Diocese unite in prayer on that day for this intention.
This appeal is made following Vatican Radio Reports that His Holiness Pope Francis made the announcement during the course of remarks ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer on Sunday, 1st September.
The Pope has especially called for a vigil in St Peters Square, Rome, 19:00 until 24:00. (Rome time).
I will certainly be offering Mass for this intention on that day. According to articles I have read here and there on the Internet, this powder keg in the Middle-East could escalate into a world war. I am as worried as anyone else, and just a hundred years after the so-called Great War of 1914.
I was born only fifteen years after the liberation of France from the Nazis and we “boomers” have only known peace and prosperity. All that could change in a twinkling of an eye. Peace in our world could be as fleeting as these last summer days before the autumn and winter. Every time I sail along the cliffs of Normandy, I see bits and pieces of Nazi bunkers – and they will still be there in a hundred years! Nothing was ever the same again since that vacherie de guerre.
I ask you to listen to the following video of the Song of Thanksgiving set to music in 1944 by Vaughan Williams, carefully looking at the images. The text from the Sacred Scriptures and our favourite English poets is helpful, so is included. Be thankful if God delivers us from the scourge of war. We remember that, in war, the enemy is war itself. If war happens, it is our nearest and dearest who will die, perhaps ourselves.
SOPRANO SOLO AND CHORUS
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers; and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy Name; and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory; and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom, and to be praised and glorified above all forever.
Song of the Three Holy Children, vv. 29, 30, 31 & 33
O God, thy arm was here,
And not to us, but to thy arm alone
Ascribe we all. Take it, God, for it is none but thine.
Henry V, Act IV, Sc. 8
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power and the glory.
Thine is the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and earth is thine.
Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
I Chronicles XXIX, v. 2
O give thanks unto the Lord because he is gracious:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
Song of the Three Holy Children, v. 67
SPEAKER AND CHORUS
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to comfort all the mourn; to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Isaiah, LXI, vv. 1, 2, 3
Go through, go through the gates, prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones.
Lift up a standard for the people.
Behold, the lord hath proclaimed unto the ends of the world,‐say ye,
“Behold thy salvation cometh, Behold, his reward is with him and his work before him.”
And they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the lord: and thou shalt be called “Sought out,” a city not forsaken.
Isaiah, LXII, vv. 10, 11, 12
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations. And they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
Isaiah, LXI, v. 4
Violence shall be no more heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
Isaiah, LX, v. 18
Land of our birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.
Father in Heaven who lovest all,
O help thy children when they call.
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.
Teach us the strength that cannot seek,
By deed, or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under thee, we may possess
Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress.
Teach us delight in simple things,
The mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And love to all men ‘neath the sun.
Land of our birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
O Motherland, we pledge to thee,
Head, heart and hand through the years to be.
The Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Isaiah LX, v. 20