On February 23rd the Focolare Movement will join the Church in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace and the end to all forms of violence. The day was instituted by Pope Francis in a surprise announcement before 20 of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus. The Pope turned especially to the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan, which have been going through great escalation in violence and oppression, but he was also mindful of all the prolonged conflicts that are taking place in all parts of the world.
This is not anything new: Pope Francis had invited “all believers, also non-Catholic brothers and sisters and non-Christians” to unite in a common moment of prayer, each in their own way, to implore together the gift of peace, while trying to understand what each of us can do to stop the violence. “The victories obtained by violence,” said the pope, “are false victories.”