Raising Our Voices for Peace in Syria

Syria

Last night, our family sat comfortably in the living room, eating takeout pizza and rewatching Hotel Rwanda. Our Adam, now an 18 year old, remarked on how the devastation had occurred shortly before his September, 1994 birth. I had to admit to Adam that during those bloody days between April and July of 1994, I was blissfully ignorant of the atrocities in Rwanda that took the lives of over 800,000 souls. I was a pregnant housewife with a two year old, just doing my best to wake up each day and keep life from spinning out of control. My concerns were over things like potty training, laundry, and my thickening waistline. I don’t think I could have even found Rwanda on a map.

Fast forward twenty years after those 1994 months and I find myself near tears reading the news about what is happening in Syria. We’re much more wired now, so along with CNN 24/7, we have access to firsthand accounts from relief agencies like Caritas and from those impacted directly by the violence in the region.

It’s indeed horrific, but I ask you to take a moment to watch this graphic video from CNN that shows the aftermath of last week’s chemical attack in Syria:

We heard from our Holy Father, Pope Francis today calling us all to pray fervently for peace in Syria:

With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation in Syria. The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in the terrible images of these days, leads me once again raise my voice that the clatter of arms may cease. It is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the ability to meet and dialogue.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace. I appeal to the international community that itself more sensible to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.

All together let us pray. . . All together let us pray to Our Lady, Queen of Peace:
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

We know the needs of the over one million children, Syrian refugees who have poured across the borders of their homeland seeking shelter with only the clothes on their backs. We know that the UN is on hand, preparing to inspect the site of last week’s chemical annihilation.

Yet how many of us will go about our business today with good intentions, but blissfully ignoring families whose lives have been turned upside down? How many of us will include Syria in our Prayers of the Faithful at Mass and then head off to Costco, finish laundry and to do items, and prepare ourselves for a busy back to school week?

Don’t get me wrong, I blame myself first and foremost. Sometimes praying to Our Lady in situations like these, I have a sense of that old, “No thanks, I gave at the office” excuse inside my head. What can I — one little housewife in Fresno — really do to help Syria’s families, half a world away?

I’ve pondered a few answers to my self inquiry:

  • Educate myself on what is really happening in Syria
  • Follow the statements of the Vatican and share them with family and friends both locally and via social media
  • Amp up my support of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States
  • Talk with my sons and husband about what is happening in Syria and pray actively as a family through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace for immediate relief and healing in the region

It’s easy to fall into despair amidst the enormity of suffering in a situation like Syria. Yet today I choose to accept Pope Francis’ invitation:

“I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace.”

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

A question for you: How are you responding emotionally, intellectually and prayerfully to the crisis in Syria?

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

  • Bob Conroy

    Another thing you can certainly consider is making a donation to New Hope Homes which is an orphanage group in Rwanda that creates Christ centered homes and educational opportunities for those still suffering from destroyed families. Mothers who lost children living with and caring for children who lost parents.Check out the group at http://newhope4kids.org because it’s not too late to help the innocent children of those who’ve been unjustly murdered simply because they have been caught up in societal sin.

  • Bob Conroy

    I love that it’s never too late to offer prayers and sacrifices for those beyond our physical reach…

  • Guest

    I gave some money to Doctors without Borders, which is, as far as I know, the only western charity currently operating from inside Syria, giving people basic medical aid. I’m not sure what else we can do; the whole situation is awful.

    http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=7029&cat=press-release

  • bill bannon

    But Lisa, I’m sure you prayed for Syria prior to these children being gassed but still they were gassed despite your prayers. I have been praying for the opium brides of Afghanistan for a year now…still they exist ( daughters taken from indebted small opium farmers by drug gangs and forced into early marriage within the gangs).
    We give monthly for years now for rejected babies in Beijing…still …next week more babies will be abandoned in Beijing for being sickly.
    Our prayers do not stop wars but perhaps stop the quantity of atrocities within wars. Christ said that “there will be wars and the rumors of war and earthquakes and famines…these things are the beginning of sorrows.” In short, there are consequences of the Fall which will happen despite prayers because Christ said they would happen. You and your family can pray for no car accidents in the world
    in the month of September. They will happen anyway…but it’s certain that you stopped some car accidents because the Our Father implies that…” thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.


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