PARISHES, justice and peace groups, convents and schools throughout England and Wales will be taking up the Pope's invitation to celebrate the World Day of Peace this Sunday.
Catholics will be asked to reflect on the links between poverty and conflict, adopting John Paul's special theme for this year: "If you want peace, reach out to the poor."
"With the Pope's special call for prayer for peace in Bosnia, the Assisi meeting earlier this month, and the threatening situation in the Middle East and elsewhere, people will clearly be making special efforts to observe Peace Sunday," said Bob Beresford, secretary of the Bishops' Committee for International Justice and Peace.
He said a resource pack prepared by the committee together with the British arm of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace organisation had been in great demand. More than 8,000 pamphlets i.vith suggestions for liturgy and ideas for action by groups and individuals based on the Pope's theme have been mailed to parishes throughout the country.
Pax Christi is to also to arrange a series of vigils, exhibitions and bookstalls in parishes throughout the country highlighting its work, In London Bishop Victor Guazzelli, the national president of Pax Christi, will celebrate a special Mass at Westminster Cathedral, whilst in Liverpool, Bishop Kevin O'Connor will celebrate the annual Mass for Peace at the Metropolitan Cathedral. An ecumenical service is also planned For St Anne's Cathedral in Leeds.
Although the World Day of Peace and the Pope's message is officially promulgated on January 1, each national bishops' conference is free to choose on which day of the year to celebrate it.