Responding to the call of the Prince of Peace


By Barb Arland-Fye

We anticipate the birth of the Prince of Peace while mourning the loss of tens of thousands of women, children and men because of the war that began in October in the land of Jesus’ birth. On Gaudete Sunday, a time to rejoice in the Advent season, we learned of the inexplicable deaths of a Christian mother and daughter in Gaza. Our Prince of Peace must be weeping at our world’s inability to foster peace by working for justice for all humankind.

OSV News reported that an Israel Defense Forces sniper shot and killed the two women as they walked to a convent at the Holy Family Parish compound in Gaza, a place where Christian families have sought refuge. These latest deaths happened nine days before Christmas; one day after the conclusion of Hanukkah, the festival of lights; and four days after an Interfaith Gathering of Prayers for Peace in Davenport.

“At this holy time of Advent in anticipation of the birth of the Prince of Peace, it is with great sadness and horror that we continue to witness the death and destruction of innocent people in the land of Our Lord’s birth,” Arch­bishop Timothy Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a Dec. 16 news release.


“Such violence must not continue…. we call for an immediate cessation of all hostilities, the release of hostages, and for earnest negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of this conflict,” Archbishop Broglio said. “We resolutely join our voices with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminding all parties in this conflict, that war is never the answer but always a defeat…”

“Some say, ‘This is terrorism. This is war.’ Yes, it is war. It is terrorism,” Pope Francis said during the Dec.17 Angelus prayer, according to Vatican News. “That is why the Scripture affirms that ‘God stops wars… breaks the bow, splinters the spear’ (Psalm 46:10). Let us pray to the Lord for peace. … Let us not forget our brothers and sisters suffering from war, in Ukraine, in Palestine and Israel, and in other conflict zones,” he said. “May the approach of Christmas strengthen the commitment to open paths of peace.”

We long for peace, but our longing and praying must be accompanied by action, working to ensure that everyone on this planet has their basic needs met and the opportunity to thrive. St. Paul VI said that if we desire peace we must work for justice. We begin with prayer, Scripture and grounding ourselves in the ways of peace. Excellent resources include:

  • World Day of Peace resource materials, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (
  • Franciscan Peace Center based in Clinton (
  • Pope Francis’ Prayer for Peace, in which we ask God to “Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness” (

The Holy Father’s World Day of Peace message for Jan. 1, 2024 ( offers additional ideas. The message focuses on artificial intelligence and its potential for good, or for harm, in our efforts to foster peace.

  • Avoid the temptation to yield to selfishness, self-interest and the desire for profit and the thirst for power. Failing to do so threatens our freedom and peaceful coexistence (No. 2).
  • Use Artificial Intelligence to promote integral human development, which “could introduce important innovations in agriculture, education and culture, an improved level of life for entire nations and peoples, and the growth of human fraternity and social friendship. In the end, the way we use it to include the least of our brothers and sisters, the vulnerable and those most in need, will be the true measure of our humanity” (No. 6).
  • Resist the temptation to “build a culture of walls, to raise walls…” Commit to foster encounters with other cultures and other peoples and to develop a peaceful and fraternal coexistence.
  • Foster “relationships that recognize and welcome others in their inalienable dignity,” and work toward “cooperation and commitment in seeking the integral development of all individuals and peoples.”

The Interfaith Gathering of Prayers for Peace offers some additional insights on which to reflect:

  • Build peace-seeking communities together. The interfaith gathering served as an example of how to bring people together to build up that intentionality.
  • Embrace the commonality we find in acknowledging a reality that transcends each of our individual experiences.

“…Give us the grace to reach for peace, to have attitudes of peace, that our words may be of peace, and that our works be works of peace. Then may we build the peace that we and our nations need” (CRS Prayer for Peace,

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *