International Day of Peace - Photo:canva.com
The International Day of Peace is observed on 21st September each year to strengthen the ideals of peace through the observation of non-violence.
The International Day of Peace recognizes that building authentic and lasting peace involves much more than the laying down of weapons. Political unrest and armed conflict which causes people to flee adds to the unjust burden of existing poverty and absence of structural supports in communities worldwide.
The practice of race-based discrimination at borders and racial vilification in times of trouble is a focus for this years International Day of Peace. Stamping out racism is a way that everyone can contribute to global peace. The International Day of Peace says racism harms not just the lives of those who endure it, but society as a whole. “We all lose in a society characterized by discrimination, division, distrust, intolerance, and hate. The fight against racism is everyone’s fight. We all have a part to play in building a world beyond racism.”
Columban missionaries have been accompanying communities who experience racism and other forms of discrimination for decades. In the United States, Columban missionaries have been serving at the United States/Mexico border for more than 25 years. Everyday they see how border communities are examples of cross-cultural encounters and hospitality. Border communities are also locations where discriminatory immigration law enforcement sows fear and distrust with tragic humanitarian consequences.
Columban missionaries live and serve along the United States/Mexico border in Cuidad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. The Columban Mission Centre in El Paso Texas is a ministry which offers border awareness programs for groups from around the world and facilitates connection with migrant populations. The Columban Mission Centre also serves as a venue for the local community to offer talks and workshops in efforts to build peace and justice.
From Your heart, Holy One,
to the suffering heart of war-torn countries,
to a world both beautiful and broken,
pour out, we pray, Your solace to hearts choked with grief;
Your strength, to those shattered by trauma;
to all now in flight, rest in safe shelter;
to all left behind, Your tender presence.
Turn those who seek to dominate and destroy
towards the way of peace, the work of justice.
In trust, we pledge our lives to no more war,
war never again.
May this be so for all Your people
on this day and on every day
held in Your unconditional love.
Missionary Society of St Columban Prayer for Peace
Sr Caroline Vaitkunas rsm
Peace, Ecology and Justice Office
Columban Mission Centre