February 19, 2009

Bishop Carlson publishes Pastoral Letter on Peace

SAGINAW - Focusing on prayer and the Eucharist, the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of Saginaw, has published "Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace," a pastoral letter about peace.

In the letter's introduction, Bishop Carlson wrote:

In 2002, the Lord spoke to my heart: “So many desire peace, but few are willing to pray for peace.” In giving me this word, the Lord gave me a vision and a goal: to help the world come to peace through the power of prayer.

I believe that the only way we are going to get peace is if we turn to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and ask him for it. That is why, along with Fr. Luis Mesa, I founded the Messengers of Peace — a religious order in Colombia dedicated to 1) praying for peace, in Colombia and in the World, before Christ in the Blessed Sacra­ment and 2) working to serve the poor.

If we desire peace we must be willing to work for it. And if we are willing to work for peace that means we must be willing, first and foremost, to pray for peace. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “To pray is to enter into the action of God upon history: he, the sovereign actor of history, has wished to make people his col­laborators.”

The Pax Christi (Peace of Christ) movement was established in Europe when the world was at war, to gather people together to pray for peace. Today Pax Christi has the same goal. But many of its members, in my limited experience, are more action oriented. There needs to be both prayer and service because, as Pope Bene­dict XVI noted, “The effectiveness of pastoral action depends, ulti­mately, upon prayer; otherwise service becomes empty activism.”

Accordingly, the Messengers of Peace begin and end the day in prayer for peace. During the day a handful of brothers (and soon sisters) serve the poor — children, adults and the elderly.

I invite you to join the Messengers of Peace as a “living Gospel” — a person of the Beatitudes. As we hear in the words of Pope Paul VI: “‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.’ (Mt. 5:9) We believe that, without the direction and assistance of Christ, true, permanent and worldwide peace is impossible.” (Pope Paul VI, Message for the World Day of Peace, 1978.)

To obtain copies of "Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace" or other publications by Bishop Carlson, contact the Communications Office of the Diocese of Saginaw at (989) 797-6637.

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