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My father was 15 years old when Nazi forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Just a few years later, he and his family were arrested on the suspicion of helping Jews evade capture. They were loaded onto a train, where the guards taunted them by saying that if the train were to go left at an upcoming junction, they would be lucky and only be going to a forced labor camp. If the train went right, they would end up at a death camp. All the prisoners, terrified, fell to their knees and began to pray the Rosary. The train went left, and because of that, I am alive today.

War is hell. It leaves scars on the land, on cities, and in every human heart, lasting for generations. That is why, when Pope Paul VI addressed the United Nations in 1965, he said:

“Listen to the clear words of a great man, the late John Kennedy, who declared four years ago: 'Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.' Long discourses are not necessary to proclaim the supreme goal of your institution. It is enough to remember that the blood of millions of men, numberless and unprecedented sufferings, useless slaughter and frightful ruin are the sanction of the covenant which unites you, in a solemn pledge which must change the future history of the world: No more war, war never again.”

War is hell. In our sinful pride, the human race has not taken this lesson to heart. But there is one who has overcome the powers of Hell. One who can soften the hardest of hearts. One who, at the very mention of His name, commands that every knee shall bow—whether in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. He is Jesus, the Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Pope Francis yesterday issued an appeal “to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make this coming 2nd March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace: let believers dedicate themselves intensively to prayer and fasting. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

I ask all in our parish to take up this call of the Holy Father, and for those who are able, to join me as well this Friday, February 25th, in prayer and fasting for peace and for an end to war. No more war. Never again war.

In Christ, Fr. Dan

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