By Vatican News
The International Forum of Catholic Action (IFCA) is calling on believers across the globe to stop, bow their heads and pray for peace, every one according to his or her own tradition, at 1 pm Rome time on Monday 8 June.
IFCA has chosen this date to commemorate the unprecedented “Meeting of Prayer for Peace”, called for by Pope Francis on 8 June 2014, in which the Presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority met in the Vatican to pray together for peace in the Holy Land.
Launching today’s initiative, the organization said it called for the first “A Minute for Peace” event In 2014 in preparation for that unprecedented meeting of prayer promoted by the Pope. That initiative was supported by local Catholic Action organizations, by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and by other entities.
“We urged a prayer in the form of a witness: short, simple, for everyone. The response was significant in the various countries, in particular, almost 10,000 people gathered on Facebook in a short time,” an IFCA statement said.
The underlying theme of the 8 June 2020 “Minute of Prayer for Peace” is from Pope Francis’ Message for this year’s World Day of Peace: “Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family.”
The initiative aims to motivate “all those who care about peace, believers and non-believers alike,” to join in a minute of prayer or silence.
IFCA explained that it is an invitation “to pray by oneself or with other people, in safety, in our homes or our places of work or study,” and encouraged participants to engage others and promote the event on social and other media.
Acknowledging the difficult situation we are living because of the pandemic, the statement quotes from the Pope’s reflection during the Extraordinary Moment of Prayer, which took place on 27 March: “How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons. (…) The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering.”
The International Forum of Catholic Action
IFCA was established by the Catholic Action movements of Argentina, Spain, Austria, Malta, Mexico and Italy, following the 1987 Synod of Bishops on “The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World”, and the ensuing publication of Pope John Paul II’s Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici.
The organization stemmed from the need to create a structure that would enable Catholic Action associations and movements to meet, exchange ideas and experiences, and show solidarity.
In 1995, the Pontifical Council for the Laity issued a decree recognizing the International Forum of Catholic Action as an international organisation of pontifical right.