VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A month to the day since the assault on the United States, John Paul II prayed especially for the victims of the “inhuman terrorist attacks” and urged that all traces of hatred be eliminated from hearts.
The Holy Father prayed at the start of the morning session of the Synod of Bishops, which has gathered just under 300 prelates until Oct. 27.
“We again commend to the eternal mercy of the God of our fathers the numerous innocent victims,” the Pope prayed in Italian.
“We ask for consolation and comfort for their families and relatives, prostrated by pain,” he said. “We invoke strength and courage for however many continue their work in the places hit by this terrible disaster; we implore tenacity and perseverance for all the men of good will continuing on the paths of justice and peace.”
“May the Lord remove from the heart of man every trace of resentment, hostility and hatred, and open him to reconciliation, solidarity and peace,” the Pope said. “Let us pray so that the ´civilization of love´ may be established all over the world.”
Following the papal prayer, Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, president of the Nigerian episcopal conference, and a Fraternal Delegate of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Peter Forster of Chester, England, delivered brief homilies.
The assembly then prayed in English that the Consoling Spirit inspire men and women in works of life and peace. They prayed in French that the Spirit illuminate leaders of peoples and nations with the gift of wisdom.
In Spanish, the participants prayed to the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of the terrorists to the light of truth. A prayer in Arabic begged the Spirit for the gift of wisdom of heart for all those who acknowledge Abraham as father in faith (Jews, Muslims and Christians).
In Portuguese, participants prayed for the healing of wounds of innocent peoples scourged by terrorism and violence.
In Russian, prelates prayed to the Spirit to infuse courage in men of good will and a tireless will to work for reconciliation and peace.
Lastly, in German, participants prayed for eternal life for all the victims of terrorism and war.
After praying the Our Father, John Paul II concluded with this prayer: “O Almighty and Merciful God, he who sows discord cannot understand you, he who loves violence cannot welcome you. Watch over our painful human condition tried by brutal acts of terrorism and death, comfort your children, and open our hearts to hope, that our time may again know days of serenity and peace.”
At the end of the day´s synodal sessions, the Holy Father recited the rosary with the assembly.