The Holy Father supports our initiative!
At the beginning of Advent, on 2nd December, at the noon Angelus prayers at St. Peters Square in Rome, Pope Francis lit a candle for peace and reconciliation in Syria – a country torn apart by a war. A war which has now lasted longer than World War II. With the lighting of the candle, the Holy Father supported the start of the Candles for Peace in Syria initiative, an Advent campaign of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) seeking to raise awareness and support for the suffering Christians in Syria. While lighting the candle, decorated with the photos of suffering children and brought from Damascus, the Pope said “May this flame of hope and so many flames of hope disperse the darkness of the war”. Conscious that only Divine Mercy can bring back peace and stability, heal wounds and reconcile enemies, the Holy Father also calls upon all people of good will to become instruments of peace. “Let’s pray and help Christians to stay in Syria and in the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.”
Hour for Peace
The Candles for Peace campaign started in Syria at the end of November Aid to the Church in Need, together with local Christian communities, invited school children throughout the country to convey to the world their longing for peace. United to work together and to speak aloud, Syrian Christian schools and other institutions granted one hour to allow children, under their teachers’ or volunteers’ supervision, to express their desire for peace, reconciliation and respect by drawing and writing prayers on the candle’s cardboard wind shields. These candle wind shields will then be distributed via the ACN national offices to benefactors with a call for prayer for peace in Syria. On the 24-25 November they gathered in and around their churches for processions, theatre, songs and dances for peace. The initiative has involved over 50,000 children, of different religions, from several of the Syrian cities most severely affected by the war, including Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Marmarita, Hassaké, Tartus and Lattakia.
The main candle given to the Holy Father was created during these events in Damascus, decorated with photos of Syrian children, the prime victims of the conflict which is still ongoing.