Archbishop Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, reflected on this weekend’s prayer vigil led by Pope Francis. Various Christian communities and other faiths held similar vigils around the world in solidarity for the Pope’s call for peace in the region.
According to Vatican Radio, Catholic and Orthodox Bishops, members of the government, parliament and Muslim community, took part in prayer vigil held in the Greel-Melkite Catholic Church in Damascus. Archbishop Zenari stated that many have approached him to “thank the Holy Father for this beautiful initiative.”
“Local television stations and journalists were present and I’m sure that in these days they will give great importance to this prayer vigil celebrated in Damascus.”
Regarding the Holy Father’s words during Saturdays prayer vigil in St. Peter’s, Archbishop Zenari told Vatican Radio that Pope Francis’ words were very profound, particularly his words on the plan of God who wished “to create a world as a house of harmony and peace.”
“This image is beautiful,” he exclaimed.[The Pope’s words] resounded like a breeze, a breath of hope here as it has all over the world, his strong conviction that this harmony can be recovered, that it can be recovered with the help of God and with good will,” he said.
“This strong confidence of the Holy Father is truly a breath of oxygen not only here in Syria and the Middle East, but I believe all over the world in these days in which a very dark and heavy atmosphere is breathed. There was a need to feel this very strong wind of hope.”
Concluding his remarks, the Apostolic Nuncio to Syria expressed his belief that the the prayer vigil would have a great impact on the current situation in the region. “I already see here that this initiative of the Pope, his words truly have an extraordinary resonance,” Archbishop Zenari said.
“The people, who I have spoken to, tell me that the resonance of his words were exceptional, the reflections and initiative of the Pope for the day of prayer and fasting. I would like to think that in the whole world – without a doubt – a positive response will weigh in on certain decisions.”