By Lisa Zengarini
The Catholic Church in England and Wales will celebrate Peace Sunday on January 17. The celebration occurs yearly on the third Sunday of January to reflect on the Pope’s message for World Peace Day. Resources for parishes, young people and schools are provided by Pax Christi, part of the international Catholic movement for peace who, on the occasion, also collects offerings and donations from the parishes to support its year-round work for peace and against military spending and nuclear weapons.
'A culture of care as a path to peace'
Peace Sunday this year will focus on Pope Francis’ Message for the 54th World Peace Day, celebrated on January 1st on the theme “A culture of care as a path to peace”, in which he called on government leaders and those of international organizations, business leaders, scientists, communicators and educators, to take up the principles of Catholic Social Teaching as a “compass” to achieve “a more humane future”, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting the connection between social injustice and violent conflict, the message urges everyone to become “a prophetic witness of the culture of care” to overcome social inequalities, which can be done only “through a widespread and meaningful involvement on the part of women, in the family and in every social, political and institutional sphere”.
On the occasion of Peace Sunday, Pax Christi’s National President, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, who is also the Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (Cbcew), has written to parishes to encourage them to support the work of Pax Christi and to raise up the Gospel message of peace, which, he says, “through reconciliation, justice and nonviolence, can offer hope and direction in these times”. Many dioceses across England and Wales are actively promoting Peace Sunday on their websites and in their parishes. Resources, which include Pope Francis’ World Peace day Message, a liturgy booklet, a flyer with ideas for parishes, schools, individuals, families, groups and a script for a short talk about the Peace Sunday theme, are available on Pax Christi’s website: www.paxchristi.org.uk/peace-sunday-2021. On 16 January, the organization will also offer a national online service at 6pm to explore how the Pope’s message calls us to be peacemakers and respond to the call to live non-violently.