Here in Christchurch as I write it’s late evening on Friday 15 March, a day that will be forever remembered as one of our nation’s darkest days.
Last month on his visit to the United Arab Emirates Pope Francis met with Muslim leader Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb (pictured above). The encounter was a meeting of brothers at which these two leaders signed a declaration of fraternity beginning “In the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace;”
Yesterday afternoon following the Christchurch terrorist attacks Bishop Paul Martin expressed his horror at this violence and invited all people “wherever you are, alone or with family, workmates or friends, to pray together in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.”
I now invite you to take up this invitation and to pray for peace, remembering especially all members of the local New Zealand Muslim community who are our brothers and sisters in faith in one God praying:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace:
where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
- Bishop Paul Martin of Christchurch will celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s pro-Cathedral this morning at 11.20am. If you are able to participate please do. If not, you might like to, wherever you are, take a few moments to pray for the Muslim community, for those who have lost their lives, for those who are struggling to survive, for our city, our country and our world.