Pope Francis on Thursday morning began a special prayer for peace as part of the 500 centenary celebrations marking the birth of St Teresa of Avila.
The Pope led the hour of prayer at the Casa Santa Marta before saying Mass along with the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Father Saverio Cannestrà.
The worldwide Teresian family is participating in this initiative including Carmelite priest Fr Eugene McCaffrey from the Avila Carmelite Centre in Dublin, Ireland, who is also written on St Teresa.
He spoke to Lydia O’Kane of his delight at the announcement.
“We’re delighted with the whole initiative and a little taken by surprise… and we’re joining with the Holy Father and with the whole Church…”
Father McCaffrey said that St Teresa “spent her whole life not just teaching prayer but praying and drawing people into the great mystery of the relationship with God. He added that his community would be having a “Birthday Party” to celebrate this milestone in the life of this Saint and Doctor of the Church.
Below please find World Prayer for Peace, proposed to the Holy Father Pope Francis
Dear brothers and sisters:
The Order of Discalced Carmelites, friars, nuns, and seculars, the entire Teresian family, in union with the whole Church, today celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church.
At the request of the Father General of the Order, during the span of this day a world hour of prayer for peace will take place in all convents, monasteries, and fraternities. I unite myself joyfully to this initiative and begin with these words our supplication to God, Father of all of us, so that, through the intercession of Christ Jesus, he will pour his Spirit over all the nations, so that dialogue among men will triumph over violence and the conflicts that scourge our world. To this prayer I invite all faithful Catholics, all Christians of other denominations, and also members of other religions and men and women of good will.
“The world is all in flames […] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little importance” (Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection 1,5).
The world is all in flames is the sorrowful cry of Teresa as she contemplates the conflicts, wars, and divisions in society and the Church of her time. Today we also make this our cry and present it to Jesus as a supplication: Lord, the world is all in flames!
We, like Saint Teresa, know that by our own efforts we will not attain the precious gift of peace. Therefore, with our petition let us hold tightly to the power of the redeeming Cross of Christ: “Oh my Lord and my Mercy, my only Good! What more do I seek in this life than a union so close to you, that there can be no distinction between you and me? With such a companion, what can be difficult? With you so close to me, what dare I not attempt for your sake?”
Joined to the Cross of Christ and from the hand of the Virgin, his Mother and our Mother, and from the hand of Teresa, we beseech God to increase the opportunities for dialogue and encounter among men, that we learn to ask for forgiveness so that peace may grow in the world like the fruit of the reconciliation that he has come to bring to us.
A Christian brings peace to others. Not only peace, but also love, kindness, faithfulness and joy.