Peace Begins at Home
At this moment I wish to address the issue of violence in the city of Philadelphia with a prayer and peace initiative. I am asking our Catholic churches in the city of Philadelphia to welcome all people of good will next Wednesday evening (October 8th) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for "The Power of Prayer: Opening Doors and Hearts to Peace." This will be a time of quiet prayer and reflection. The parish churches in the city of Philadelphia will open their doors, turn up their lights and invite all who wish to visit a Catholic church to pray for an end to violence and for peace in our city. In a particular way I invite police, firefighters and other emergency responders who are able to come to Church to join in this prayer.As of this morning, the city's homicide count for the year stood at 248.
As we pray for an end to violence in our city and for the blessing of peace, I also ask God's protection on the men and women who work every day in this city to maintain peace. This is a powerful moment for the Church and indeed for all of the people of Philadelphia. In the recent past, five police officers, all of whom were Catholic, have made the ultimate sacrifice. In this simple initiative which we believe can have a powerful impact, we hope to unite clergy, religious and lay faithful, as well as people of all faiths who wish to visit one of our churches. This is a moment for us to stop and raise our voices to God in thanksgiving for police officers and all who serve, risking their lives each day to protect us. Together, let us ask the Lord to keep our public servants safe from harm and to assist us to bring an end to the violence that plagues our city.
PHOTO: AP/Matt Roark