This past Saturday afternoon, along with 100,000 others in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, I prayed for peace with Pope Francis, through the power of television. I thought the service would last for about an hour but this historic prayer vigil lasted over four hours. The Joyful Mysteries of the rosary, peace prayers from 20th century popes, a time for Eucharistic Adoration, numerous Scripture readings, prayers offered up with incense, and an address by Pope Francis, all drew me in to focus on the world’s need for peace.
At times, I tweeted prayers and commentary while reading other Twitter reactions to the vigil as we followed the hashtag established by Pope Francis, who uses the Twitter handle @Pontifex, #prayforpeace.
As a Catholic, I have attended various prayer services but never one so universally powerful as this one lead by Pope Francis. This prayer vigil embraced many Catholic prayer traditions and yet I believe it was accessible for all who longed to pray for peace. I received hope that a peaceful resolution would be found for the tragedy that is the Syrian conflict.
This week, let us remember that as Catholics, we have a powerful tool for peace: prayer.