A worldwide prayer for peace began this morning, on the occasion of the fifth centenary of Saint Teresa of Avila’s birth. The Order of Discalced Carmelites was responsible for proposing the initiative this year in which activities are being planned worldwide to remember the Spanish mystic.
Pope Francis wished to be a part of this initiative, reciting a prayer this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Superior General, Fr. Saverio Cannistra, and Vicar General, Fr. Emilio Martinez were present at the Mass. “I unite myself profoundly to this initiative, so that the fire of the love of God will overcome the fires of war and violence that afflict humanity, and that dialogue will prevail in the armed conflicts everywhere. May Saint Teresa intercede for this, our prayer,” said the Holy Father.
After the Eucharistic celebration at Casa Santa Marta, ZENIT spoke with Fr. Martinez, who said it was a “moving moment” because the Pontiff took part and dedicated some words for the prayer of peace and the Saint. “A gift to Saint Teresa,” said the Vicar. He explained that the Superior General approached the Pope who handed him a candle, as a visible symbol of the souls who will join the prayer, to enkindle a fire that enlightens, and does not burn — the fire that represents peace.
Moreover, Fr. Martinez said that, at the end of the Mass, he had the opportunity to greet the Holy Father personally and to talk for a few minutes with him. The Pope congratulated them on the fifth centenary and thanked them for the work they do and for the “gift” of the prayer for peace.
In a delightful way, observed the Vicar, the Pope acknowledged that the Carmelites love him. He also said that it is very important for the Carmelite Sisters to know that the Holy Father has joined this initiative.
Finally, Fr. Martinez told ZENIT that together with the candle, the Pontiff gave the Superior General a letter addressed to the Order, which will be published on March 28.