Pray for Peace

Men and women of good will, 

who believe in the power of prayer and its universality, 

and who dream of a world more peaceful and fair,

                To you all, peace-lovers, this December 2018

intention of prayer: peace-journalism.

Providing positive and constuctive information, this is the aim of a new developping form of journalism: peace-journalism. Several representatives of the movement were invited at the Vatican, Saturday 13th October 2018 for discussions. Lebanese Vanessa Bassil, is the founder of the Media Association for Peace, the only association supporting peace-journalism in the Middle-East and North Africa. For her, peace-journalism consists in producing, for example, reports on the positive integration of Syrian refugees in Lebanon:

«It is important for the public to be made aware of peace-journalism and so, be able to understand how media have a role to play in the construction of peace, a topic based on the respect of all human beings' rights»,

Peace- journalism is a form of journalism structuring the media coverage to develop the  analysis of conflicts and the emergence of a non-violent response. It brings light to the structural and cultural causes of violence. It defines the conflict as an event involving lots of different factors more focussing on a wide spectrum of objectives than on a dichotomous approach. It focusses on peace initiatives, whatever their origins, and so, enable the reader/listener/viewer to make the right distinctions between official positions and the real «war targets» from the concerned parts. For example, the journalistic coverage of the Gulf war was clearly controlled by the French and mostly American political and military authorities. Peace-journalists insist on being professional, i.e autonomous, refusing to be considered as docile instruments of a foul propaganda. The media must make it clear that they have to be cautious, in front of the attempts of manipulation from the authorities.

As the Prefect of the Dicastory for the Vatican communication, Paolo Ruffini, sees it, «with the acceleration of time, it is important to find time to get properly informed». He also mentioned the importance to use the proper words and « to stick to reality in these hyper-connected times».

In his message for the 52nd World Communication Day, Pope Francis invites the media to react against fake news, and bring their support to peace-journalism, a necessity for the media of today. To succeed, he invites people and journalists, in particular, to a sincere dialogue, to facilitate the emergence of truth which alone can set free. Pope Francis pleads for «a journalism of peace»,«devoid of deceits, hostile to misinformation, and to emphatic slogans and declarations.» He defends the journalist «the custodian of the news who not only cares for his job, but also fulfils a priceless mission». For Norwegian Johan Galtung, founder of irenology, the science of peace, it is important to make a difference between positive peace and negative peace, in order to treat information as correctly as possible. « Coupling negative peace with the absence of violence doesn't make sense. It raises a problem: lots of people, indeed, estimate it is a reliable principle, but, in fact, it is just as bad as some kind of coexistence, similar to misfortune in marriage». Peace-journalism is implanted in Indonesia, Columbia, South-Africa and Nepal. It is complementary to another approach deeply rooted in the United States : preventive journalism, applying a similar approach to social, commercial, environmental and institutional topics. Preventive journalism combines investigative journalism with didactic reports, promotes possible solutions and decides if they are applicable or not. They do try to detect social problems as they arise, and find solutions that will alert authorities before they turn into some dramatic crisis.
Let us pray: O Lord, we recommend you all the actors in the fields of communication. May they care for truth and coherence. May they find the exact meaning of the events.Through your mercy, may all men of good will become messengers of the Good News brought to the world by your Son,in  the night of Bethleem.


To you all, peace-lovers, this october 2018
                           Intention of prayer: non-violence as a style of politics for peace

October 10th 2015, Brother Irénée took his last breath in God. So, this is three years now, since a small team has followed the initiative he had taken to write a letter proposing an intention of prayer for peace. The themes are peace, indeed, is so fragile!

Each 2 October is the «International Day for Non-Violence». It is the anniversary day of Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneer of the philosophy of non-violence. This is the same theme we still propose to consider, as it is so relevant.

In his message for the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace - 1st January 2017- Pope Francis asked God « to help all of us cultivate non-violence in our most personal thoughts and values». And he added: «May we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming non-violent people and to building non-violent communities that care for our common home. Nothing is impossible if we turn to God, in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace».

«The politics of non-violence have to begin in the home, and then spread to the entire human family».

For years, non-violence as a style of life and relationships between people has been a constant concern for the Holy See, asserting through the Pope's voice, and his UN Representative's frequent addresses, that «violence is a profanation of God's name. Violence cannot be justified in the name of God. Only Peace is holy». In April 2016, at the occasion of a congress organized in Rome on the theme of Non-violence and Just Peace, Pope Francis declared: «In our complex and violent world, it is truly a formidable undertaking to work for peace by living the practice of non-violence». Quite recently, 27 September 2018, Archbishop Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States reasserted, during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly that «peace will never be achieved through violence», and he issued a call to everyone's good-will «for an honest dialogue based on good faith and open to forgiveness and reconciliation. This is indeed the only way to necessary stability at all levels: social, economic and political».

In this remembrance day of  St Francis of Assisi, may his prayer become ours.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is offence, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union. Where there is error, let me bring truth. Where there is doubt, let me bring faith. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

To you all, peace-seekers, this May 2018
Intention of prayer: The Maldives

The Maldives is an archipelago of over 11000 islands, of which only 200 are inhabited by a population of 330 000. Formerly a British colony, and today an independant state, since July 26th 1965, the republic is lead by Abdallah Amen Abdu. Islam is the State religion. Originally Buddhists, the people were converted to Islam, probably in the XIIth century. Strict Sharia law prevails. Other religions are banned.

Overcrowded capital, Male is congested by masses of buildings. Most of the other islands have turned to tourism which constitutes the main economic ressource. But sea level rise is a threat for all of them, obviously making their access uncertain. Moreover, already severely controlled, homestay accomodation is strictly forbidden.
The archipelago faces two major problems: unemployment and drug corruption. Moreover, a political crisis is raging, characterized by violence. It followed Mohammed Nasheed's resignation (February 7th  2017), a former president listed among the opponents, and also, the leader of the fight against global warming.

The recent restoration of the death penalty for children above 7 years of age, has caused indignation all over the world, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared their deep worry. Indeed, according to international law, «persons charged and sentenced for infringements committed before the age of 18 can't be sentenced to death, nor to imprisonment, with no perspective of  release», Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissionner, reminded.

«The peaceful demonstrators against the state of emergency should never have been jailed, and must be released immediately and unconditionally. The Maldives government is taking advantage of the state of emergency as a licence to repression and puts pressure on members of the civil society, judges or political opponents», declared Dinushika Dissanayake, South-Asia Deputy Regional Director for Amnesty International, who has also noted the use of unjustified and excessive force by the police, against journalists and peaceful demonstrators.

Let us pray: Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, intercede with your Son, so that oppression and terror may cease in all countries subjected to totalitarian regimes. Oh Lord, come and help all actors of non-violence and all peace-makers. May their voices be heard and their actions be considered and respected. Amen.

To you all peace-seekers, this March 2018
            Intention of prayer: agro-ecology, a hope for peace and social cohesion for the countries of the South.

  In Burkina Faso, in Burundi, in East Timor and other countries, Non Governmental Organisations (NGO's), among which PAIES (Program of support to the Economic and Social Initiatives), PERMATIL (Permaculture for Timor Leste), CCFD TERRE SOLIDAIRE, struggle to implement a new kind of agriculture capable of opening to a new future by repairing damages caused by all sorts of devastating practises, such as anarchic felling of wood, bush-fire, overcultivation, and the use of pesticides.

          Among other friendly practises, one can distinguish the use of hedge restoration, consisting of meadows surrounded by hedgerows so as to prevent monsoon-related erosion, the plantations in zais, (small basins allowing water retention), permaculture based on the production of compost and the use of natural pesticides and fertilizers, solar driers, the digging of drainage ditches and drilling wells to capture water from the ground, quite abundant in the African sub-soil, the rehabilitation of crop varieties adapted to the land and that will withstand the present climatic disturbance.

          The evolution of practises implementing these new agro-ecological techniques has noticeably improved agricultural productivity and above all contributed to reinforce social cohesion particularly through the recognition of the important role of women, who are just starting to own land property. In Burundi, the hope for a better life is palpable, together with hopes for peace, while the dismantling of agricultural had generated idleness, individualism, alcoholism, and of course violence. The contribution to the achievement of a fair and comprehensive peace is thus recognized.

            The second stage of PAIES program is taking shape. Its implementation is scheduled for April 2018, with the African partners and about ten organisations from Middle-East, the Andes, and Asia.

Let us pray:
We pray you, Lord. May all prosperous nations better understand the interest of a substantial development of assistance and help the countries of the South, for them to play a pacifying role. May these countries become models of ecological development and meet the needs of their populations. Make them free of all the preachers of hatred flourishing on poverty. Amen.

To you all, peace-seekers, this February 2018
          Intention of prayer:the end of the conflict in Yemen.

On January 31st, the Vatican site was considering what follows:« Is the situation in Yemen degrading? The fights are intensifying all around the Presidential Palace in Aden, where the executive power is about to collapse ». Will peace ever be made possible in this war-torn country opposing the Houthis Shiite rebels supported by Iran, and the Sunni coalition supported by Saudi-Arabia?
Following the Arab spring in Tunisia and Egypt, Yemen endures popular demonstrations which started early in the year 2011. The  Houthis Shiite rebels join the protest led by students. The Houthis, from north Yemen, on the border with Saudi-Arabia, are supported by Iran, its rival. The southern part of the country colonized by the British became independant in 1967, on solid socialist ideology basis. But, in the last 50 years, the political elite, the military forces, and tribal powers have kept fighting for the conquest of power.
Despite President Ali Abdallah Saleh's repeated announcements concerning the organization of anticipated elections and a revision of the constitution, the demonstrations maintain the pressure and generally end up in fierce repression. Only the intervention of the United States and Gulf countries will contribute to negociate President Saleh's departure: he agrees to hand over his power under a transition agreement, at the beginning of year 2012. December 4th 2017, President Saleh is assassinated.

During these agitated years, Al-Qaïda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) takes advantage of the chaos to extend its territorial influence which the United States oppose  in a merciless war. Since then, according to UNO observers, the country has been the scene of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Out of a population of 30 million inhabitants, nearly 8,4 million are directly threatened with starvation. Because of the collapse in health services, 2000 people have died of cholera in the biggest epidemic ever recorded (nearly 1 million suspected cases since March 2017, according to the Red Cross). Fatal cases of diphtheria have also been reported due to the poor coverage to vaccinate children under the age of 15. Moreover, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) indicates that 2,5 million inhabitants are deprived of access to drinking water. According to NGO Acted, 21 million people need humanitarian aid. Almost, 10 million people, mostly children, require emergency assistance. How long will the people's suffering last? We are invited by Pope Francis not to fall into the trap of the globalization of indifference. Let us turn to the heart of God.

Let us pray
We celebrate,this month, the 160th anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes. Let's ask Virgin Mary to intercede for the peoples of Yemen and of all Africa who are victims of similar conflicts. May everyone have access to food, drinking water and basic care. May an end be put to these wars ruining the countries  and destabilizing the fragile balance in this part of the world. Amen.

To you all, peace-seekers, this January 2018
                   Intention of prayer : The Rohingyas, an endangered minority.

Before colonisation, Burma didn't exist as a national entity : by colonising this part of the world, the British Empire has assembled a number of kingdoms that,eventually, have been absorbed into each other. From the religious point of view, the two thirds of them are bouddhists, the Bamars. The remaining third is composed of all sorts of ethnic and religious groups. In 2015, the election victory of Aung San Sun Kyi's party (Peace Nobel Prize) has engaged Burma on the path of democracy, but with no power at all over security affairs, reserved for the Army, almost essentially constituted of bouddhist Bamars. Consequently, the generals detain most key-positions, and more precisely the Ministry of the Interior.

At the end of August 2017, the uprising of the muslim Rohingyas who, since 2012, have no access to schools, hospitals and job-market, and who are deprived of citizenship, has caused a fierce repression from the Burma Army, forcing hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to flee, against their will, to Bangladesh, a very poor country, landlocked in the oriental part of India.

At the moment, some 900,000 muslim Rohingyas crowd into tent-cities in Bangladesh where over 600,000 of them have arrived since the end of August to flee what UNO considers as ethnic cleansing. The  Bangladesh authorities fear a demographic explosion within this community whose families are traditionally large. This might aggravate the precarious living conditions in the camps. The Bangladesh family planning has provided the Rohingyas with contraceptives and is now considering more radical methods, like vasectomies or tubal ligations, on a volontary base. Trapped in camps where they can't escape from, and banned from working in Bangladesh, the Rohingyas refugees live in conditions close to inhumanity, according to several UNO reports : overcrowding, no access to healthcare, idleness, etc...

And so, with the Burma Rohingyas, has reappeared the spectre of oppression against ethnic and religious minorities, since long. During his recent visit to Burma and Bangladesh Christians, Pope Francis has insisted on the necessity for the international community to defend the interests and rights of religious minorities.

Let us pray : O Lord Jesus, you have experienced exile and persecution. May your Holy Spirit inspire the leaders of all nations. May they put an end to persecutions against all minorities and may human rigths be respected throughout all nations. Amen.

                   To you all, peace-seekers, this December 2017
                     Intention of prayer : the role of women in the maintenance of peace.

During the last UN Assembly, Mgr Auza, Permanent Representative of the Holy See, made a number of statements on how to implement measures for the advent of peace. He particularly emphasized «  the importance of the full participation of women as active agents in the peace and security process ». He also acknowledged the  « laudable contribution of women in the UN peace maintenance missions throughout the world. » In this month of December, as the figure of the Virgin Mary is more present to us, it is gratifying to recognize the vital role played by women in the prevention of war, not only through mediation and preventive diplomacy, but also in post-conflict situations, by participating in the process of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of societies to prevent further relapses.

The Holy See Representative encouraged the international community to find new ways to implement the different UN Security Council resolutions which aim at involving women in the mediations for the peace-making operations and security of the populations. As Pope Francis insisted during the General Audience-January 25th 2017- « it often happens that faithful and brave women restore strength to their fellow-citizens and lead them onto the paths of hope ». So many women testify to the resilience of the human spirit when faced with systemic exclusion. This is particularly true in times of violence and conflicts when resilience and mercy are more than ever necessary. »

A Canadian survey has issued the following results :
   when the percentage of women in Parliament increases by 5%, the State is five times less susceptible to use violence in case of international crisis.
   a peace-agreement is 35 times more susceptible to last at least over 15 years if women participate in its elaboration. Similarly, when 35% of Mps are women, the risks of resumption of conflicts are practically close to zero.

Today, as well as yesterday, the announcement of the kingdom of God is entrusted to all, but women have a priviledged role.The Gospels show us that women are present and active around Jesus, and they are quite a few to support Jesus and his twelve apostles with their own ressources.

Let us pray Mary, the Mother of God, the Prince of Peace, that through her intercession, the Lord reveals the importance of the role of women in all these peace processes at work throughout the world. Let us also pray that their commitment to peace doesn't make them the target of violences. Peace to men whom God loves.

To you all, peace-seekers, this September 2017
        Intention of prayer : peace in Colombia

Pope Francis will pay his next apostolic visit to Colombia from September 6th to September 10th . He comes to bring his support to the process of peace that recently put an end to a period of civil war that lasted over more than fifty years and cost the lives of thousands of people. The Catholic Church has played an important part in the process and therefore, can be considered as an acknowledged instance, appreciated by a great majority of the population.

From 1964 to 2016, a civil war has indeed opposed the Columbia government to the Marxist guerilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – FARC. As a consequence, the agreement signed with the FARC, last November 25th  has turned an important page in the history of Colombia. By allowing former guerillas to take part to the political life of the country, Colombia has integrated other processes initiated by different countries like Northern Ireland, where IRA has moved away from armed struggle and where members of the organization have found their place in the local political life.
The Catholic Church has played an important and acknowledged  part in that peace process, which is, in a way, the expression of the diplomacy of mercy, dear to Pope Francis. Mocoa, a city of Amazonia, was severely hit by a landslide, March 31st of this year, and while visiting the city on April 6th, the Pope's representative welcomed the joint efforts of the State and of the FARC ex-guerilla for their assistance to the victims, considering that their coordinated response to the tragic event was an encouraging sign of good will between both parts so as to secure a concrete and final ending to the conflict.

But, despite these political advances, violence is still prevalent, particularly against the human rights defenders, trade-unionists, journalists and members of the Church. If the conflict with the FARC can be considered as settled, another one, coming from the extreme-left, hasn't yet been settled. The Pope comes to bring hope and consolation to the populations still traumatized by violence and weakened by years of struggling. Let us support his action in our prayer.

Let us pray : Lord God of Peace, Isaiah, your prophet, has proclaimed  that, one day, “the nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Is 2-4). We pray you to step up the fulfilment of his words. May the Pope's visit to Colombia strengthen the birth of peace. May your mercy be fulfilled and may a fair and durable peace come true for all. Amen.

To you all, peace-seekers, this May 2017
                  Intention of prayer: denounce the hypocrisy of the trade in weapons

The latest international treaty on arm trade was enforced in December 2014. It specifies that transactions on arm trade should be more accurately supervised in order to avoid any misuse. It stipulates that the vendor countries should make sure that the business of arms will not contradict the principle of human rights. As they are the principal victims of the system, the countries of the South firmly claim for a strict framework in the arm trade.

What kind of efforts are the western countries disposed to make? Some, like France, have made it a priority to act in favour of the treaty.
In a report, published in December 2015, eminent lawyers commissioned by Amnesty International have brought to light that British and French governments have infringed the treaty articles, by selling arms to Saudi Arabia, some of them being susceptible to be used in Yemen where the Saudi Arabia war continues to cause a lot of humanitarian devastation.

China and other States outside the treaty have claimed for more flexibility, criticizing western countries for acting as the defenders of good morality, after making fortunes from the business of arms.

What is at stake in such regulations is considerable. Indeed, misused weapons regularly end up in the hands of armed gangs or terrorist associations. In a recent report, June 2016, Amnesty International stated that the Islamic State has developed its arsenal taking advantage of the uncontrolled proliferation of weapons towards Iraq, and of not so strict controls on arm transfers to Syria and Iraq. Daech particularly possesses military equipment from several western countries.

All States should ensure a reliable estimate of institutional risks when they plan to export weapons. And so, by securing arm brokering-activities, they will make sure their weapons don't fall into the wrong hands. Indeed, 85% of misappropriations start with a brokerage contract. Commercial and social interests, as far as employment is concerned in arm producing States, play an important role in the trade of arms, hence, their reluctance to implement the measures for effective regulations.

Let us pray: Lord, we pray Thee to send forth your Holy Spirit over arm-dealing countries' governments. Make them more vigilant that they are not misappropriate, and that innocent people do not become the victims of that deadly trade. Amen.

To you all, Peace-seekers, this April 2017
                     Intention of prayer: the Media, actors of peace or makers of wars.

These last few years, the power of media has undoubtedly become a “fourth power”. Obviously, this power has raised masses of questions, recently echoed by quite a number of specialists. These latest days, the Church, in France, has been targetted by a TV broadcast on pedophilia. Where is the truth?

On Easter day, again, the entire earth will hear the only Good News to be proclaimed to the world: Christ has risen, Christ has truly risen! Could that Good News be proclaimed on and on, by all the media with no limit nor restriction whatsoever from one extremity of the world to the other, in all languages and cultures!

All citizens are entitled to be informed and have the moral obligation to get informed by themselves. The purpose of information is to report facts by describing and giving sense to the event, and also to explain, warn about potential consequences in the immediate or remote future. The way a fact or event is reported may be a factor of peace or of confusion. One of the consequences of biased information is undoubtedly the loss of landmarks in minds and comportments.

“Are the media impartial?”, could we wonder. In times of war or more simply of conflicts of any kind, information proves to be a powerful weapon either for peace or for war. Recent examples are countless, where, for instance, the announcement of a massacre can be used straight away to arouse revenge with devastating effects to follow.

Information no longer makes sense and turns out to be manipulated once politicians and media are progressively and maliciously induced to minimize or ignore the components of information. All this in order, either to convince their voters, or please the audience. At this point, journalists are real mediators and possess almost automatically some obvious power to aggravate or solve conflicts.

Despite all this, it is out of question to adopt a pure negative approach. Lots of media try to weigh on comportments and perceptions, with the perspective of suggesting peaceful solutions to conflicts, and so, they use various supports such as music, theatre, cartoons and magazines. The quest for peace is a long-term involvement. It feeds on patience, and discretion, while social networks align on scoops and immediate treatments, with all their excessive simplifications which follow. The inevitable selection of information only gives access to a part of reality, and so, deprives people of the elements which could help them form their opinion and conscience before acting. The deal is dramatic.

Let us pray: Be praised, O Lord, for the Apostles, the senior journalists of the Good News of Salvation. We recommend you all the actors in the business of communication. May they have real concern for truth, coherence so that all men discover the meaning of the events. May all men of good will become the messengers of the Good News, proclaimed at Easter by Your Son, risen from the Dead: Peace be with you.

        To you all, Peace-seekers, this March 2017
           Intention of prayer: Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Peace-makers.

In terms of solutions to conflicts and crisis, NGOs, today, have become undisputed actors. In history, institutions known as “charities”, like fraternities or, more recently some other international associations like the Red Cross, have always been associated with the idea of preserving peace, civil peace, social peace. Today, things have changed a bit. Political and religious institutions are rather dedicated to long-term involvement and, indeed, long-lasting actions, while charities should ideally remain short-term institutions in order to temporarily sustain, for a limited time, established political and social systems.

However, one should notice that the initial mission of neutral assistance from NGOs  may be affected by intentional political decisions. The development schemes they coordinate are often inspired by the values, culture, interests of the donating countries. There is also for them a risk to be used as foreign policy tools, like, for instance, Russian President Vladimir Poutine's bill to transfer the surveillance of foreign humanitarian organizations to the secret services. It is true that quite a few number of NGOs have played an important part in the liberation of the ex-Soviet Union Republics: that is true of Ukraine and Georgia, for instance, which really upsets the actual power in the Kremlin. For quite a few years now, some states aligning on Russia have put pressure and threatened NGOs working in their countries with the purpose to bring them discredit. The rise in controls and in administrative harassment is the expression of such comportments. NGOs are sometimes disturbing witnesses, like in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their initiatives do disturb, like  in Rwanda or Burundi. And yet, these NGOs all belong, except in some very rare cases, to the category of charities promoting durable conditions of peace.

In the end, there are good reasons to fear that should pressures and attacks continue, some NGOs might have to decide to suspend their activities in some countries where their presence is indispensable to the populations. The evidence of it is the recent example of Syria after the bombings of protected locations like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders hospitals.

Let us pray: Lord, help NGOs  fulfil their missions. That they may continue to preserve peace. Send forth your Holy Spirit, that it may enlighten the leaders' minds and hearts. That they may support these organizations and not embarrass them.Through Jesus-Christ our Lord. Amen.           

  To you all peace-seekers, this February 2017
     Intention of prayer: No to the walls of shame

Wall of shame is an expression used for the first time by the media and western politicians to designate the Berlin wall which split the city during the cold war.

The expression has since been used in many other different contexts to designate any wall or barrier. It was meant to discredit their initiators or any other community supporting the separation or remaining passive in front of the situation. For these people, it's the reasons leading to the construction or its purpose that explain the disgrace caused by the structure.

In a figurative sense, the expression may also have been used to name any social segregation, like apartheid in South Africa.

At the moment, there are about 21000 kilometres of walls of shame throughout the world among which the most famous are: Israel-Palestine, Algeria-Morocco, anti-migrants in Hungary, the green line in Cyprus, the militarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea, the border between Melilla and Ceuta, in Spain, the one between India and Bangladesh, etc...The construction of an effective wall between Mexico and the USA is seriously considered since the arrival of the latest President at the White House.

Never have walls been so many in the world. About a dozen were reported in 1989 after the fall of the Berlin wall. Today, they are over 50. Unsettled political conflicts, wars, ethnic self-protection, the growth of djihadism are encouraging our planet to do so. Globalisation has failed to provide a world without borders.

On the European continent, St John Paul II shared this: “can't we say that after the fall of the wall, the visible has unveiled another invisible wall that stretches throughout human hearts? It is made of fear, aggression, lack of comprehension for people of different origins, a wall made of political and economic egoism and of reduced sensitiveness to the value of human life and dignity of every man. The shade of that wall  develops all over Europe, a global, timeless civilization gathering all cultures and considerations on life.” The walls of separation that some protagonists dare name “walls of peace” but which objectively are the walls of shame, are the sad remnants of some primitive reflexes. These walls rob lives, confiscate families, violate lands, isolate, torture and condemn lots of peoples on earth. Isn't it time, now, for debates to open on that sad reality erected in the name of theories praising reconciliation by means of separation, ignoring that peace can't be achieved unless we remain together?

Let us pray:
Lord God, we confess that building a wall is a selfish and unfair act committed against the powerless, by those who live in abundance and refuse to share.Your holy Apostles couldn't have delivered your message, had they been confronted to the walls of separation. Through Jesus-Christ, who came to us to destroy all the walls of separation between nations, we pray you. Help us work to establish your kingdom of love on our earth.

For all of you who are searching for peace, in this month of August 2016
 Prayer intention :to ensure that the Gospel of nonviolence prevails

On the initiative of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace and of Pax Christi International there was an international conference held in Rome from the 11th to the 13th April 2016 entitled : « Nonviolence and just peace : a contribution to the understanding of nonviolence and of the commitment of Catholics towards it. » Some eighty participants coming from the five continents, amongst whom several bishops and numerous theologians, worked from a document sent to everyone beforehand, stating « that it’s urgent to rethink the Catholic understanding of nonviolence.» The message addressed by Pope Francis was a pressing encouragement : « Humanity needs to refurbish all of the best tools at its disposal to help today’s men and women fulfil their aspirations for justice and peace (…) In our complex and violent world, it is a truly formidable undertaking to work for peace by living the practise of nonviolence. »

Appeal to the Catholic Church to commit to reaffirming the central role
of Gospel nonviolence.
We live in a world today of terrible suffering, widespread trauma and fear, related to militarisation, to economic injustice, to climate changes and to countless forms of violence. Recent weeks have brought us reports of multiple terrorist attacks in Europe, in Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East. Based on numerous testimonies from participants but also on university research, the members of the Conference in Rome adopted a final text which takes a decisive step :
« The moment has come for our Church to be a living testimony and to invest more human and financial resources into the promotion of spirituality and the exercise of active nonviolence, as well as in training our Catholic communities in the practises of nonviolence which have proven their efficiency. In all of this, Jesus inspires us. He is our model. »

« Those of us who are a part of the Christian tradition are called to recognise the central role of active nonviolence in Jesus’ message. Neither passive nor weak, Jesus’ nonviolence was the power of love in action. Clearly, the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus, should never be used to justify violence, injustice or war. » Then comes this decisive passage : « We believe that there is no just war. Too often the just war theory has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. Suggesting that a just war is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop the tools and capacities necessary for nonviolent transformation of conflict. We need a new ethical framework that is consistent with Gospel nonviolence. »

The participants, based on Pope Francis’ diverse declarations, call on him to « share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and just peace in order to integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into life and to promote nonviolent practises and strategies : nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, trauma healing, unarmed civilian protection, conflict transformation. » The meeting in Rome proposes a profound renewal of the Church’s way of thinking about the question of violence, to break with the age-old doctrine of just war and to propose that Christians become actors of nonviolence. A break that could be decisive for the very future of the Church.

In this month of August when the Church celebrates the Virgin Mary, we pray to you Lord : send your Holy Spirit to the heart of every man so that nonviolence, dialogue and prayer are the only  « arms » to bring about peace. Let your Church, with the help of your holy grace, always be faithful to its mission to fight evil with good. Amen.
For all of you who are searching for peace, in this month of April 2016

For all of you who are searching for peace, in this month of April 2016

Anti-religious persecution in the world today

Many countries ignore the universal declaration of human rights from 1948 « Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion… » Neither can we forget that the « Declaration on Religious Freedom » from the second Vatican Council, voted on the 7th December 1965 is one of the most innovative texts on this subject. In its n° 2, the declaration states : « This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. (...) the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. »
We distinguish between a politico-ideological type of persecution and that of a religious type. Religious intolerance claims tens of thousands of victims every year, from all religious faiths, throughout the world ; they have been increasing since 2010. Religious persecution between 2013 and 2015 has provoked the largest population displacements. The principal victims of this persecution are Christians, their religion being considered as the Western religion. Furthermore, the Church disturbs through its anthropology founded on the inalienable dignity of every person, which differs radically with other cultures like India whose culture is based on castes.
According to the ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) Asia is the continent most affected by religious persecution. China wages war against Tibetan Buddhism, Muslim autonomists and clandestine Protestant and Catholic churches. In Iran the official religion is Shiite Islam : Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Sunni Muslims are granted recognition but under strict surveillance ; as for the Baha’is (Shiite dissidents) they are violently persecuted. In India Muslims and Christians are persecuted, because they are perceived as a threat to the country’s identity. In Vietnam unregistered religions are persecuted.
In several African countries where any official religion is forbidden in the name of freedom of belief, inter-religious confrontations are multiplying. In certain regions of South America, it’s the drug cartels or the guerrilla groups who fight Christianity, considered contrary to their ideology. Hence thousands of Christians are displaced. In the West, discrimination is more due to a generalized climate of mistrust since the attacks of the 11th of September 2001 and which is only amplified by the latest attacks. This whole climate of violence calls more than ever for our commitment to prayer.
Let us pray : Lord Jesus, you give us brothers and sisters with whom to share our faith and celebrate it as a church, whilst respecting those who don’t share it. Help us to build peace between States and peoples so that no one can be persecuted because of their religious beliefs.

January 2016: Pray for peace with our Jewish brothers

There is no doubt : Joseph the just, Mary full of grace and Jesus born in Bethlehem in Judea, are Jews. They belong to the people of Israel, a chosen people to whom the Promise has been confided in an Alliance sealed with Abraham and incessantly invoked throughout the history of Israel. The gifts of God and his calling are irrevocable asserts St Paul in the Letter to the Romans. (Rom 11, 29)

The twenty centuries of Christianity since « the Jesus event » have been marked by much incomprehension, ignorance and also contempt in the relationship of the Catholic Church with Judaism. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, the pontifical Commission for religious relations with Judaism, published a document on the 10th December of prime importance, insisting notably on the struggle against the anti-semitism factor of violence. By invoking the Jewish roots of Christianity, the document reminds us that: « both traditions of faith are called upon to exercise an incessant vigilance together, whilst also being attentive to social questions. In the name of the solid bonds of friendship between Jews and Catholics, the Catholic Church feels compelled to do with its Jewish friends everything in its power to thwart anti-semitic tendencies. »

From a theological viewpoint, the document recognises « only one story of God’s alliance with men ; by consequence Israel are the chosen people and loved by God, the people of the never repealed or revoked alliance. » «The faith of the Jews evidenced in the Bible is not for Christians another religion but the foundation of their own faith. » The consequence of these assertions had already been underlined by Jean Paul II in 1980 : « The first dimension of the dialogue (between Jews and Catholics), namely the meeting between God’s people of the Old Testament, never revoked by God, and those of the New Testament, is at the same time an internal dialogue in our Church, so to speak between the first and the second part of his Bible. »
The rabbi David Rosen qualified the positions explained in this new document as « revolutionary change in the Catholic approach towards Jews and Judaism. » Its very concrete implementation is that « Christians can learn a lot from the Jewish exegesis which has been practised for 2000 years. »

From an ethical viewpoint, the document indicates « the commitment to justice and peace in the world, the preservation of creation and reconciliation; peace in the Holy Land -which is lacking and for which we constantly pray- plays a leading role in the dialogue between Jews and Christians. » Here again, the text of 2015 recalls the words of Jean-Paul II, in Mainz in 1980 : « Jews and Christians, both sons of Abraham, are called upon to be a blessing to the world, in so far as they commit themselves together to peace and justice for all men, and where they do it in fullness and depth, as God himself planned for us, and with the willingness for sacrifice that this noble project can demand. »
 (to access the full declaration text :  HYPERLINK ""

Saint Paul’s prayer in remembrance of his people (Rom 11, 33-36) :

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God !
How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways !
For who has known the mind of the Lord ?
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever ! A M E N

To give you our best wishes for the new year, the editorial team borrow those of Pope Francis in his message for the 1st of January 2016, world day of prayer for peace :

I entrust these reflections, together with my best wishes for the New Year, to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, who cares for the needs of our human family, that she may obtain from her Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the granting of our prayers and the blessing of our daily efforts for a fraternal and united world.
                    Pope Francis


After the events which plunged France into grief last month the questioning resounds with more strength : how to make peace between peoples ? Just before All Saints, the European Assembly of Religions for Peace met in Castel Gandolfo, in which Jews, Christians and Muslims participated. Their subject of reflexion « welcoming one another : from fear to trust. » In an opening message, Cardinal Tauran reminded us that « the true mission of religion is peace because religion and peace go hand in hand. » Yes, how can we transform fear into trust, discrimination into respect, enmity into friendship, a disposable culture into a welcoming culture and confrontation into dialogue ? Here are the many questions to remember in our prayer.

The COP21 event « 21st conference of signatory members of the United Nations’ Climate Convention » takes on a capital importance for our common future. Among the four issues underlined by Justice and Peace, the practical issue, the responsibility issue, the solidarity issue, let us pay attention to the fourth issue which is spiritual and commits us to prayer. « The fourth issue is of a spiritual and moral order as the climate crisis concerns such a challenge. We don’t inherit the land from our ancestors, we lend it to our children says an African proverb quoted in 1939 by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Wind, Sand and Stars. The voice of religious authorities is considered in this respect as an important ally in the perspective of a successful outcome for the climate summit. It’s not insignificant in France, a country demanding secularism, to prepare an international event with the contribution of religious and spiritual voices. In so much as these voices carry the meaning of a common good for humanity. » (The Letter of Justice and Peace, n° 206, October 2015 /

The success or failure of COP21 will have a direct impact on the advent or the decline of peace between peoples, let us consider notably the demographic imbalance provoked by climatic migrations. It is in this sense significant that in Rome on the 26th of October a signed appeal has been launched, by Cardinals, Patriarchs and Bishops world-wide representing the five continents. In the continuity of the Encyclical Laudato Si' these pastors reaffirm that the climate is a possession common to all humanity, that the environment is a collective possession under everyone’s responsibility. The poor, first victims of climate change, must be involved in sustainable development. The appeal from Rome is divided into ten precise appeals that you can find by following the link :  HYPERLINK "" Paul VI declared in 1967 : « development is the new name for peace. » 
Let us pray to increase our ecological conscience, it will lead to peace. 

Prayer for the earth concluding the appeal from Rome : 
God of love, teach us to take care of our common home.
Inspire our government leaders at the time of their meeting :
to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor 
to be united in heart and spirit, answering with courage 
to search for the common good and the protection of this garden that You created for us, for our brothers and sisters, and for the generations to come. A M E N


To all of you who seek for peace :


« Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters ». This is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 48th International Day of Peace that will occur on the 1st of January 2015, continuing the tradition inaugurated by Blessed Pope Paul VI, in 1968.

Pope Francis was inspired by the St Paul’s Epistle to his friend Philémon in which he asked to receive Onésime, a fugitive slave converted to christianity thanks to the ministry of the Apostle. Paul asks Philémon to receive Onésime « no more as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother » (Phm 16). With this biblical verse, the Pope wishes that we consider slavery not as a fact belonging to the past, but as a social evil still very active nowadays. In these messages, the Pope insists upon the fact that our divine affiliation makes all human beings brothers and sisters with an equal dignity. But slavery is deadly to this universal fraternity and, as a consequence, to peace. Indeed, in order to have peace, mankind must see in the other a brother granted with an equal dignity.

Slavery now takes different forms such as human trafficking, the smuggling of migrants and of prostitution, forced labor, exploitation of the man by man, the slave mentality towards women and children. And these evils is subject to shameful speculation from individuals and groups that take the most of the numerous current conflicts, the economical crisis and corruption. Slavery is not only an open wound in the contemporary society, but also a very serious wound in the flesh of the Christ! We need, above all, to recognize the inviolable dignity of each human being and assert at the same time the strength of fraternity - which supposes to overcome the inequality to consider that a man can subject another man - and promote a commitment of proximity and gratuity for a path of liberation and inclusion of all. That way, we will be able to build a civilisation based on the equal dignity of all human beings without any discrimination ; this requires the commitment of the medias, of education and of culture for a renewed society funded on freedom, justice and peace. 

So that this message of the Pope be welcomed by all men and women of good will, by all governments and by all churches and religions, let us pray the Lord : 

Lord, God of Peace, your son Jesus-Christ has come to announce that we are all sons and daughters of one same father, and as a consequence, brothers and sisters. Slavery of one person by another deeply wounds this universal fraternity. Thus, we supplicate you to give us the moral strength to denounce and suppress all forms of slavery existing amongst us. That way, we will implement the truth of the Gospel stated by Saint-Paul : « There is (…) neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. » (Ga 3,28). Amen.

Kindest regards,  

Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães

Benedictan monk of Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France

Tournay, 13th nov. 2014.


To all of you who seek for peace:


Once again, Irak draws the attention of the international public opinion because of its political instability. I invite you to pray for peace in this millenary country, cradle of the civilisation, which is now in a dramatic situation.

The "Operation of Liberation of Irak"  aimed mainly at stabilizing the country and bringing down its dictator, Saddam Hussein, with the armed intervention of the US and the coalition, on March 20th 2003. Eight years and nine months later, on December 21st 2011, the USA have left the country. This war caused the death of 250 thousand of Iraqis, 5 thousand of soldiers, and wounded 36 thousands of them. The absence of an expressive military power has given the opportunity for rebel Sunni groups to act, especially the Islamic State of Irak, who continues attacking the central government and the Chiite population. In 2012, a "Free Iraqi Army" was founded on the model of the Syrian army that was fighting the regime of Bachar el-Assad, in Syria. We already estimate that more than 15 thousand people are dead in the civil war, and more than 250 thousand have been forced to move because of the religious persecution, especially Christians and Yezidis. 

Confronted with the innumerable and terrible violations of the Human Rights, we call on the United Nations to immediately deploy the military special units from the largest number countries possible, units that will have the necessary ability to stop the ethnical and sectary purification that is being enacted, and to make sure that the refugees can come back to their home safe and sound and to bring the responsible to justice. We also have to take measures to stop furnishing weapons to the responsible and to sanction those who continue to furnish them. An immediate reply will permit to solve the humanitarian crisis, before  the situation becomes uncontrollable. It also implies measures of protection for the members of persecuted minority community and, according to the humanitarian international right, guarantee them an immediate asylum right. This range of initiatives will permit to immediately establish the conditions for a dialogue and negotiations for peace that would include all the components of society.

For a clear and courageous standpoint of the entire international community, let us pray the Lord:

Lord, our God, God of the living and not of the dead, look with compassion upon Irak, the country where was born the patriarch Abraham. May you accomplish for this people all your promises of peace! May the violations of the Human Rights cease! May we constitute a democratic and tolerant country, so that Christians, Muslims and believers of all faiths live together and build a culture of conviviality, and a civilisation that they might be proud of! May no religion justify the violences and all the religions work together in favor of human dignity! Amen.

Best regards, 

Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães

Benedictan monk of Notre Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.

Tournay, August 20th 2014. 


To all of you who seek for peace:

I have the right to peace
Since 1981, the 21st of September have been designated as the International Day for Peace by the UN, in order to reinforce the ideals of peace, amongst the nations and peoples, as well as between them. This year, the theme that has been chosen is "The Right of Peoples to Peace", in order to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the "Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace". I invite you to support with our prayer this initiative of the UN. 
This declaration has been approved on the 11th November 1984 by the 39/11 resolution of the General Assembly of the UN and was based on the fundamental principals of international right; it expresses the desire and will of all peoples to eliminate war from the life of humanity, and, more importantly, to prevent a worldwide nuclear catastrophe. The absence of war is an essential condition for the well-being, the material prosperity and the progress of the States. In this nuclear era, the durable instauration of peace on Earth is an essential condition of the preservation of the human civilization and the survival of humanity. In order to guarantee to all the peoples a pacific life, this important document 
" - Solemnly proclaims that the peoples of our planet have a sacred right to peace. 
- Solemnly declares that the preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State; 
- Emphasizes that ensuring the exercise of the right of peoples to peace demands that the policies of States be directed towards the elimination of the threat of war, particularly nuclear war, the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations; 
- Appeals to all States and international organizations to do their utmost to assist in implementing the right of peoples to peace through the adoption of appropriate measures at both the national and the international level." 
So that this right be guaranteed and that the 21st of september be fully lived, let us pray the Lord, inspired by the words of the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-moon: 
"Lord God, Creator and Savior, by the Christ, your Son and our Lord, you prepared for the entire humanity a future of peace. For the celebration of the International Day of Peace, we supplicate you: may the entire humanity defend the right to peace and the soldiers drop their weapons. Animated by your Spirit, may us mark our solidarity towards the civils killed by terrorism and war, towards the traumatized families that have no house nor future and towards the countries whose development level has come back to the level of several decades ago. May all those who want peace work with their friends, their neighbors, their government and the local organizations, to promote the exercice of the right of the peoples to peace. Thus, all of your sons and daughters will do what is agreeable to your eyes and the work of your hands will praise you for ever! Amen. 
Kind regards, 
Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedict monk at Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France

Tournay, 14th August 2014 


To all of you who seek for peace: 

I invite you to accompany with a prayer the travel of Pope Francis in the Republic of Korea, form the 13th to the 18th of August. Pope Francis continues his pilgrimage towards the regions in conflict to witness to the Gospel of Peace.
The division of the Korean peninsula was enacted in 1953 at the end of the Korea War, with the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in the North, and the Republic of Korea, in the South. The 4th of July 1972, the two parts declared their desire to reunite pacifically, without foreign interference. At the end of the Cold War in 1991, the two Koreas have joined the United Nations together, and signed agreements in favor of reconciliation, non-aggression, exchanges and cooperation.
The issue of the unification of this region also concerns the Christian conscience. The World Council of Churches, an organism that gathers more than 300 Christian churches, celebrated in 2013  in Busan, Republic of Korea, its 10th general assembly on the theme "God of life, lead us towards Justice and Peace!" and has approved a declaration called "Peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula". In this important document, we find guidelines for action such as: 
- encouraging the Security Council of the United Nations to take initiatives in favor of peace-building and lift the sanctions imposed on North Korea.
- launching a universal campaign to establish a peace treaty that will replace the Armistice Agreement of 1953, putting thus an end to war.
- calling upon all the foreign powers of the region to cease all military activities and reduce military expenditures.
- ensuring that weapons and nuclear power stations so as to establish a denuclearized zone, joining the initiatives towards a global Prohibition of nuclear weapons
- collaborating with the two governments to suggest an international cooperation so as to maintain a truly demilitarized zone and transform it in a zone of peace.
So that these words become true and that the travel of Pope Francis produces the expected outcome, let us pray the Lord:
Lord, our God, you sent us Jesus Christ,  your Son and our Lord, to destroy the walls of separation between the peoples, making one unique people, the one that is agreeable to you and that works for Justice and Peace. To the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis in the Republic of Korea, we supplicate you for peace and reconciliation in that peninsula: may the two nations find common ground, may the families that have been separated get together and the expenditures for weapons be replaced by actions promoting the human dignity. Amen.
 All bests, 
Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedictan monk of Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.

Tournay, 22d July 2014

To all of you who seek for peace : 
Peace ! 
I invite you, this month, to pray for peace in Central Africa. Since 2003, this country is divided between two factions : one, named the anti-balaka faction, supports the former president François Bozizé ; the other, named the Seleka, supports the former president Michel Djotodia. This political and military conflict is becoming an inter-community conflict now that many exactions against civilians, muslims or christians, who flee from villages to seek refuge in the bush. The conflict also has an international dimension as the UN Security Council, on the 5th of December 2013, mandated by the resolution 2127 an international Mission to support Central Arica led by the African Union (MISCA) for 12 months, in order to end the total failure of public order, the absence of the rule of law and inter-confessional tensions. 
The Bishops of the Central African Republic insist upon the fact that the resolution of the crisis cannot be achieved without the participation of their fellow citizens, and invite them to take responsibility in this crisis that tipped the nation into chaos and opposed them to one another. For them, "political games and respect of human beings, created in the image and likeness of god". More than a political struggle, the bishops of Central Africa assert that "the real fight to be fought is that of development, economic recovery and fight against poverty, misery, impunity". Concretely, the bishops suggest different solutions such as : refunding the security apparatus by restoring urgently a republican army, formed and equipped in order to ensure the security of the national territory and the security of the people of Central Africa ; reducing the transition period and organizing elections very quickly ; establishing an international and independent commission of investigation in order to shed light on the violations of human rights in Central Africa ; sending peacekeeping soldiers as soon as possible given the complexity of the process on the field; disarming without complacency the former-seleka and anti-balaka, and any person in possession of weapons; starting to demobilize, disarm and repatriate the mercenaries from Tchad and Sudan, and reinserting soldiers from Central Africa; promoting the dialogue between worshippers of different religions who cohabit in Central Africa; repairing and compensate the victims of the rebellion; fighting against the system of social exclusion based on ethnicity, religion and regional identity; getting the relations with neighboring countries right, especially with Tchad (
So that peace comes back to this country, let us pray the Lord:
O Lord of Peace, your Son Jesus-Christ, by his death and Resurrection, has destroyed the wall of hate between all peoples. We pray You for our sisters and brothers of Central Africa: may them be able to disarm the hands, the heart and the spirit; may them get back confidence, tolerance and forgiveness; finally, may them renew their hope in You and in mankind. May them live thus in the culture of truth, of justice and of peace that Jesus brought us. Amen.
Kindest regards, 
br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedictine Monk at Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.

Tournay, 18th April 2014.


To all of you who seek for peace : 
Peace ! 

Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will be held in October of this year, to reflect on the theme "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization". On February the 2d, he wrote a letter to all the families inviting them to actively participate in the preparation of this event, with suggestions and above all with prayers.
It is an occasion for us to reflect and pray upon the contribution of families for peace on this earth. Pope John Paul II dedicated the message for the XXVII World Day of Peace to the theme: "The Family Creates the Peace of the Human Family". Right from the start, John Paul II reflects upon the family as a community of life and love: "The domestic virtues, based upon a profound respect for human life and dignity, and practiced in understanding, patience, mutual encouragement and forgiveness, enable the community of the family to live out the first and fundamental experience of peace" (n°2). However, he notes that family is often victim of absence of peace and that "In contrast with its original vocation of peace, the family is sadly and not infrequently, seen to be the scene of tension and oppression, or the defenceless victim of the many forms of violence marking society today" (3-4). Our own experience proves us how much homes are torn apart by quarrels and conflicts, whether it be between parents and children, or between brothers, generally for futile reasons. Despite these limitations, we can consider family as a central actor for peace: "The State also has an important role in creating the conditions in which families can provide for their primary needs in a way befitting human dignity. Poverty, indeed destitution - a perennial threat to social stability, to the development of people and to peace - in our day affects too many families" (5). Eventually, John Paul II understands the mission of the family as a service for peace. He thus advises and suggests each family to "ask for this peace, pray for this peace, work for this peace!" (6). Parents are asked to be educators for peace ; children, to face the future, to develop a desire for good and thoughts of peace ; grandparents, to make a contribution of their experience and their witness in order to link the past to the future in a peaceful present. For those who do not have a family, it is the Church's responsibility to greet them as the great house of the children of God (n°6).
So that families of the entire world can live this vocation of builders of peace, let us pray the Lord: 
O Lord, Father of the entire humanity, you wish that all men and all women may live as brothers and sisters on earth. Bless every human family and give them the grace to live in peace and be a source of peace for everyone. Amen.
Kindest regards, 
Dom Irenaeus Rezende Guimarães
Benedictan monk of Notre-Dame abbey, Tournay, France
Tournay, March 30th 2014.


To all of you who seek for peace : 
Peace !

The UN proclaimed the 8 of march as an "International Women's Day", in order to change attitudes towards the role of women in nowadays society. On this occasion, I invite you to think and pray on the contribution of women to peace on earth. They are many times victims of wars and conflicts, but they also are important builders of reconciliation.
If many processes and dialogues in order to ensure peace do not succeed, it is because we do not give enough space to women. The Palestine doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish, who lost three daughters in a bombing in Gaza and who founded "Girls for peace", says : "We must accept the idea that women can largely contribute to the changes we have to make (...). When feminine values will be better taken into account at all levels of society, the values of society themselves will change and life will be easier."
In order to ensure participation of women in negotiations of peace, the Security Council of the UN, during his 4213th meeting of the 31st October 2000, approved resolution 1325. This document proposes that the UN and the Member States implement initiatives in order to give women an important role in the prevention of conflicts, in negotiations for peace, as well as in the reconstruction of societies in war-torn conflicts. Three words can sum up the resolution : prevention, protection, participation.
The resolution insists upon the fact that nation make efforts so that women may be better represented at all levels of decisions - national, regional, international - in order to prevent conflicts, deal with them, settle them ; so that they are more present as military observer, member of the civilian police, specialist of human rights and member of humanitarian operations. The document also proposes to bear in mind equity of sexes during the negotiation and settlement of peace agreements. It demands that all parts of an armed conflict respect fully the norms of international right towards women and little girls, protecting them from violent acts in the perspective of the genre in the process of peace : we have to rethink the relationship between men and women towards a partnership for peace, which requires a new understanding of masculine identity, less belligerent and more reconciliatory.
In order to put into practice these resolutions in all countries of the worlds, let us pray the Lord : 
O Lord of peace, you created man and women in your image and likeness, so that they are one. Bless all initiatives of collaboration of men and women for peace on earth. Inspire all women so that they dedicate themselves to reconciliation and resolution of conflicts. Enlighten the mind of all heads of nations so that they give a greater role to women in negotiations and processes in order to ensure peace. And the entire earth thus reconciled, as a big family, will bless your name for ever. Amen.
Kindest regards, 
br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedictine monk at Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.

Tournay, th 25 february 2014


To All of you who seek for peace: 
Peace !

embarcation réfugiés migrants turquie morts enfants mer rocher bateau pêcheur On the 19th of January 2014, we celebrated the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in order to make the christian and humanitarian communities aware of the necessity to act in favor of these men and women forced to leave their lands, in search for a more dignified life. And yet, in spite of this strong mobilization, the drama of these people does not seem to come to an end.
The major symbol of this tragedy is a little Italian island - Lampedusa island -, 20,2 km2 in area and about 5 000 inhabitants. Between Europe and Africa, this island has become the front door for those who wish to come into Europe out of the regulation. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants landed there, on boats named "boats of hope", and paying it the high price. Without any safety whatsoever, the immigrants are crammed like sardines. We estimate that more than 20 thousand people lost their life in the crossing. The most recent case is that of the 3d of October 2013, when a boat which carried 500 immigrants caught fire and capsized, killing 350 people.
The question is not simple : must we greet all these immigrants to Europe ? Do we have to send them back ? Can we let them perish ? In 2007, two captains of Italian fishing boats were prosecuted to have attempted to help these "boats of hope", accused to help illegal immigrants to land on the territory. On July 8th 2013, Pope Francis himself went to this island to express solidarity towards all the victims and the community of Lampedusa that shows a constant charity towards the most needy. On this occasion, he also reminded us of our humanitarian responsibility in this situation : "How many of us, myself included, have lost our bearings; we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live; we don't care; we don't protect what God created for everyone, and we end up unable even to care for one another! And when humanity as a whole loses its bearings, it results in tragedies like the one we have witnessed." In his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, published on August the 5th of 2013, he invited us to "a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees (...) moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization - all typical of a throwaway culture - towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world."
World Peace depends mostly of the solution and the reply we will give towards migrants and refugees. Either peace will come for all of us, or peace will come for no-one: we have to establish a cosmopolitan order in which the world may become the house of all and in which all may be welcomed everywhere.
With the words of Pope Francis in Lampedusa, let us share our part of responsibility on this question : 
Lord, we ask for your forgiveness for our indifference towards many brothers and sisters. Father, we ask for forgiveness for the one who got accustomed to it and who retreated in his own comfort leading to an insensitivity of the heart, we ask for forgiveness for those who, by their decisions on a worldly scale, have created situations that lead to these dramas. Forgive us Lord! Lord, may we hear today your questions too : "Adam where are you?", "Where is the blood of your brother?". Amen.

Best wishes, 

Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedictan Monk of Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.


To All of you who seek for peace: 
Peace !

For the World Day of Peace on the 1st of January 2014, Pope Francis chose the following theme : "Fraternity: the foundation and pathway for peace". Meditating on this message could nourish our prayer for peace on this first month of the new year.
The origine of this remark from the pope is the idea that in each and every one of us, there is a "irrepressible longing  for fraternity, that which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced". This vocation, however, is denied by a "globalization of indifference, which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves", in a world lacking the reference to a COMMON Father, ultimate ground for the fraternity between men (n°1). If Caïn symbolizes the refusal to the responsibility towards our brothers (n°2), the Christ, surrendering to death for the love of his Father, reconciles in him all men (n°3). Peace is understood as a mouvement of solidarity towards all, especially the poorest, loved "as a living image of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed under the permanent action of the Holy Spirit" (N°4). Fraternity thus presents itself as a path to vanquish poverty, either "by the rediscovery and valuing of fraternal relationships in the heart of families and communities", or by effective policies "to promote the principle of fraternity, securing for people – who are equal in dignity and in fundamental rights", or by "sober and essential lifestyle" (n°5). The serious financial and economical crisis can also be an opportunity to get back to a more fraternal economical model (n°6). Similarly, fraternity seems an alternate solution to solve human problems, rediscovering the possibility to consider as a brother him who we consider now as an enemy to be  destroyed : this requires a resolute effort " the non-proliferation of arms and for disarmament of all parties, beginning with nuclear and chemical weapons disarmament", along with a conversion of the hearts (n°7). An authentic spirit of fraternity can counter the multiple forms of corruption such as illicit traffic of money, drugs, persons and human organs, etc. (n°8). Finally, an ethic of fraternity also concerns nature, using wisely the resources to the benefit of everyone, in order to deliver humanity from hunger (n°9). "The necessary realism proper to politics and economy cannot be reduced to mere technical know-how bereft of ideals and unconcerned with the transcendent dimension of man" : it is only in opening ourselves to Him who loves every man and every woman, that politics and economy can be an efficient tool for a total human development and for peace (n°10). 
In ordre to permit these words of Pope Francis to be heard by everyone, let us pray as follows, using these words : 
O Lord of Peace, "Christ has come to the world so as to bring us divine grace, that is, the possibility of sharing in his life.. (...) This is the good news that demands from each one a step forward, a perennial exercise of empathy, of listening to the suffering and the hopes of others, even those furthest away from me, and walking the demanding path of that love which knows how to give and spend itself freely for the good of all our brothers and sisters. (...)May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, help us to understand and live every day the fraternity that springs up from the heart of her Son, so as to bring peace to each person on this our beloved earth.." Amen.
All good wishes for a blessed new year ! 
Br. Irénée Rezende Guimarães
Benedictan monk from Notre-Dame Abbey, Tournay, France.
Tournay, 30th dec. 2013.  

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire