On Sept. 7, members of the Jesuit family gathered at schools and parishes across the U.S. to pray for peace in Syria. More than 100 people gathered at a prayer service at Creighton University in Omaha, including Syrian Jesuit scholastic Tony Homsi (pictured). Photo by Don Doll, SJ.
On Sept. 7, members of the Jesuit family gathered at schools and parishes across the U.S. to pray for peace in Syria. More than 100 people gathered at a prayer service at Creighton University in Omaha, including Syrian Jesuit scholastic Tony Homsi — who has called the U.S. home for just three weeks.
Homsi, who is at Creighton studying digital journalism and whose family is in Syria, shared his prayer for Syria
at the service and later told a local news station, “We can move mountains, actually, with prayer. I experienced that before, during my life with my family, with my friends. I hope God will listen to us today."
Similar prayer services were held across the county. At the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Jesuit Father I. Michael Bellafiore told those gathered for Mass, "Wisdom is the highest of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit." He asked attendees to stay aware of the happenings around the world for Christians and others.
At a prayer vigil at Loyola University Maryland, student Caroline Mills said, "I think that it is really important that students and those really removed from Syria and the area in general, that we do our part for praying for peace."
Meanwhile in Rome, Pope Francis met with refugees on Sept. 10, three days after holding a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square attended by 100,000 people.
During his visit to the Jesuit Refugee Service’s Astalli Center, the pope greeted some of the hundreds who come there every day for a meal and then talked with refugees from various countries, including Congo, Somalia and Colombia. He also heard short speeches of greeting from refugees from Syria and Darfur.
"Solidarity, this word that strikes fear in the more developed world. They try not to say it. It's almost a dirty word for them. But it is our word," the pope said in his remarks at the Astalli Center.
Other Jesuits echoed the pope’s call for peace in Syria. Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference, was among 41 faith leaders who signed a letter urging Congress
to oppose the use of military force in Syria.
Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, former editor of America magazine, voiced his opposition to military action in Syria on a recent episode of PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. "I think the missile strike doesn’t do the most essential thing, which is saving the people of Syria," Fr. Christiansen said. "And we could do more if we spent the money we’re spending on bombs on caring for the refugees." [Catholic News Service, KMTV, Scranton Times-Tribune, CBS Baltimore, PBS]