Catholics urged to pray and fast for Syria

Catholics urged to pray and fast for Syria

Posted:
Christians in Knoxville lifted up their voices this morning and plan to share their message of peace with others. Christians in Knoxville lifted up their voices this morning and plan to share their message of peace with others.
"Peace is so important and the little bit we can do is obviously not asking a whole lot," Kathy DeWine said. "Peace is so important and the little bit we can do is obviously not asking a whole lot," Kathy DeWine said.
"We always talk about the Catholic Church being a universal church. There are Catholics scattered throughout the world. We're all connected. We pray for each other, we celebrate each other, we have one common pastor and that pastor is Francis," Stika said "We always talk about the Catholic Church being a universal church. There are Catholics scattered throughout the world. We're all connected. We pray for each other, we celebrate each other, we have one common pastor and that pastor is Francis," Stika said

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennesseans joined millions of Catholics around the world on Saturday to answer Pope Francis' call for peace in Syria. 

Christians in Knoxville lifted up their voices this morning and plan to share their message of peace with others. 

The bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Knoxville Richard Stika urged people on Saturday to spend the day praying and even fasting for peace in Syria, just as the pope did earlier.

In a prayer vigil today at the Vatican City, Pope Francis challenged the tens of thousands that gathered to re-think their approach to conflict.  

It's a message that resonated with West Knoxville resident Kathy DeWine.

"Peace is so important and the little bit we can do is obviously not asking a whole lot," DeWine said.  

Since Saturday morning, Kathy and her husband Larry DeWine have been fasting for peace for Syria. Like Pope Francis, they don't want any military retaliation in Syria.

"It doesn't make sense that people decide to kill people to solve a problem," DeWine said.  

At Sacred Heart Cathedral in West Knoxville Saturday, Bishop Stika encouraged the church to join efforts with those all around the world to pray and fast for those in Syria and the Middle East.  

Stika says praying can make a difference even though Syria is on the other side of the world.  

"We always talk about the Catholic Church being a universal church. There are Catholics scattered throughout the world. We're all connected. We pray for each other, we celebrate each other, we have one common pastor and that pastor is Francis," Stika said. 

The worldwide call for peace in the Catholic community appears to have brought some more in touch with the situation, but still some feel helpless by it all.

"It's just very concerning that harm has be done and there are suffering, and we certainly don't want more suffering," said Knoxville resident Peggy Hotz.  

If the U.S. gets involved, many fear there will be a steep price to pay. 

Kathy DeWine's father, a marine, was killed in battle during World War II, shortly after she was born.  

"I think prayer is a powerful means of contributing to whatever the need is," she said.  

Bishop Stika urged those who didn't pray or fast on Saturday to set aside a day next week to do so.  

The call for peace falls on the same day the Knoxville Catholic Diocese celebrated its 25th anniversary.

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