On this 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on our nation, our hearts are with the loved ones of those lost on that tragic day. Many of us, I suspect, recall exactly where we were when we heard the news, and our memory of that day has not faded with time.
As we see the threat of war and ongoing uncertainty continue to impact those in the Middle East and in communities across the world, our Holy Father’s call for peace has a special resonance as we reflect on a day that brought with it so much pain and devastation. In a prayer vigil with over 100,000 in St. Peter’s Square last weekend, Pope Francis reminded us that even in the face of evil, our call to universal brotherhood requires us to be instruments of peace, not hate. He told us:
“In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace!”
Whether in the fields of Pennsylvania, the skyscrapers of New York, the federal buildings of Washington, DC, the streets of Damascus, or the thousands of communities our agencies serve every day, we are called to be servants to one another and channels of the lasting peace that can only come from God. Please join me in praying for those lost 12 years ago today, and for all victims of attacks against peace around the world.