15 January 2021, The Tablet

Parishes urged to mark Peace Sunday

Parishes urged to mark Peace Sunday

Pope Francis in his new year's day address focused on God's call for each person to make a contribution to peace at home, at work and among nations.
CNS photo/Vatican Media

The national president of Pax Christi England and Wales, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, has written to all parish priests to urge them to mark Peace Sunday on 17 January.

He said: “The Christian message of peace, through reconciliation, justice and nonviolence, can offer hope and direction in these times.”

He directed parishes to Pax Christi resources – such as prayers, homily notes, a video clip from Fr Rob Esdaile, and youth activity materials – which are available from its website. All are based around the message from Pope Francis for World Peace Day on 1 January 2021: “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.”

Archbishop McMahon also encouraged parishes to facilitate a collection for, or make a donation to, the work of Pax Christi England and Wales at this time as a way to make a practical contribution to continuing the work of peace.

Pax Christi is one of the many Catholic groups badly affected by the pandemic, and it is additionally hoping to boost its membership on and around Peace Sunday.

Pax Christi International has been working for 75 years to promote the gospel message of peace.

In the UK, Pax Christi members and a small staff promote peace and non-violence at a parish level, on social media and in schools.

Ash Wednesday prayers  for peace at the Ministry of Defence on Ash Wednesday 2020.

Abingdon Parish in Portsmouth Diocese reports that on Peace Sunday, this coming weekend, there will be a hanging on the lectern with the word Peace in several languages.

Peace Sunday is flagged up in the weekly newsletter, and selected quotes and a link to the full Papal Message is on the parish website.

Pax Christi member Anne Dodd will give a short talk at the end of the morning Mass to the 30 people present and the large on-line congregation. Donations to Pax Christi will be encouraged. Anne says, “I was heartened that in this week`s Diocesan e-newsletter both Peace Sunday and the Pope`s Message for World Peace Day were promoted.”

Brentwood and Birmingham were amongst other dioceses actively promoting Peace Sunday.  If parishes do not hold a special collection for Pax Christi they can make a donation.

In Wolverhampton West, Pax Christi supporter Erik Pearse negotiated with parish priest, Fr Mark Crisp, to put resources on the website and bulletin. St Mellitus Parish in Westminster Diocese mentioned the Pax Christi resources and appeal in the parish newsletter, particularly promoting the family and children’s activities, which include a ‘tablet activity’, a schools assembly, and peace quiz and cube. On Peace Sunday they also collecting basic essentials – such as tinned foods and toiletries - for the nearby Catholic Worker house, according to parishioner Valerie Flessati. 

The Peace Sunday logo.

Margaret Pitt in a another Westminster parish “wrote to people in my parish and also my other Catholic friends and family in the UK to tell them about Peace Sunday and to encourage them to make donations.” She: “I became honorary treasurer of Pax Christi in July 2020 and I am very worried about how we are going to continue our good work if our funding is greatly reduced.”

St Wifrid’s in Preston normally recycle their Christmas Tree and use it as a Peace Tree on Peace Sunday, which is “an idea some of us brought from our former Parish of St Ignatius after its closure,” reports parishioner Geoff Thompson.  People at Mass usually write a country, area, person, situation they want to pray for peace for on a Dove and hang it on the tree at the offertory. “This year it will not be possible so we have pre-written the names of countries and places on Doves and will put them on the tree prior to Peace Sunday Masses,” he reported.

Celebrating the World Peace Day message annually, challenging military spending, promoting peace education at all levels, campaigning to rid the world of nuclear weapons and the arms trade are elements of Pax Christi's work all year around – even under COVID 19.


You can find out more about the work of Pax Christi at https://paxchristi.org.uk/  and resources for Peace Sunday at  https://paxchristi.org.uk/peace-sunday-2021/

On 16 January Pax Christi offers a national on-line service at 6pm to explore how the Pope's message calls us to be peacemakers and respond to the call to live nonviolently. See:


On 17 January, Leeds Justice and Peace will have a service at 4pm, Pathways to Peace for Earthlings. This too is open to all. Book tickets here:


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