INTERNATIONAL LASALLIAN DAYS FOR PEACE 2011.
Violence, hostility and distress continue to afflict our world today. As we remember people who live in situations of conflict, we are moved to come together to better understand and appreciate their plight, their struggles and their hopes. This is the spirit of the International Lasallian Days for Peace, a creative response to the call for solidarity and networking among our Lasallian Family across the globe.

The International Council of Young Lasallians (ICYL) thought it best to gather our sentiments and energies in upholding the primacy of peace starting on September 21, 2011 – the United Nations’ sanctioned International Day of Peace. Culminating finales or perhaps single experiences will be celebrated on October 21, 2011 as we send a strong message worldwide that we not only pray for peace but also take action in the name of peace!

 Saint Raphael Academy will be participating. Watch for updates!

BROTHER ÁLVARO’S MESSAGE FOR THE LASALLIAN DAY FOR PEACE 2011

The International Lasallian Youth Movement invites us again this year to celebrate the traditional Lasallian Day for Peace in 2011. We heartily support this initiative and we encourage everyone to devote a “significant day” to unite ourselves with so many men and women in raising a universal thunderous shout asking for peace in the world.

We are encouraged and enlightened in this task by Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Day of Peace 2011 which reminds us that “Peace is a gift of God and at the same time a task which is never fully completed. A society reconciled with God is closer to peace, which is not the mere absence of war or the result of military or economic supremacy, much less deceptive ploys or clever manipulation. Rather, peace is the result of a process of purification and of cultural, moral and spiritual elevation involving each individual and people, a process in which human dignity is fully respected. I invite all those who wish to be peacemakers, especially the young, to heed the voice speaking within their hearts and thus to find in God the stable point of reference for attaining authentic freedom, the inexhaustible force which can give the world a new direction and spirit, and overcome the mistakes of the past.” Without a doubt we find in this statement the essential elements that give meaning to our day: a gift of God that we need to implore and a human task that we need to share.

A task to be done

 

In a society corrupted by violence, marked by social inequality, plagued with social imbalance and wounded by all kinds of “crises” we are hoping that you, the young, will provide a bold proclamation that says to all of us that “we still need to give peace a chance.” As Paul VI taught, who in his wisdom and clear-sightedness gave us the first World Day of Peace: “Above all, you have to give Peace some weapons other than those that are aimed at killing and exterminating humankind.” Our weapons can be solidarity with the most unprotected of our society, a healthy optimism to shout to the world that there is an answer although at times it may seem impossible, concord among us all, over and above creeds and ideologies, acceptance of others with their differences which are really complementary traits, a firm decision to make of each conflict an opportunity for dialogue and consensus among people.

In keeping with the World Youth Day that gathered together so many young people and Lasallians in Madrid, I invite you not to be frightened, to risk your lives for a noble cause, and not to be intimidated by situations that our world is going through. Our Pope offered encouragement when he said: “Friends, let no adversity paralyze you, do not be afraid of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has blessed you with life at this time in history so that, thanks to your faith, you will continue to echo his name throughout the earth” (Welcome speech – Benedict XVI).

I would like to propose to you three focus points to look at, places where we Lasallians are present that might “touch our hearts” and, in turn, unite our common prayer so that peace, which is very much needed, might come.

We think of Mexico where internal conflicts against narcotics trafficking and organized crime is leaving a trail of violence and insecurity with its consequent deterioration of peace; a country where religion runs deep and where there is a notable Lasallian presence on the university level. South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation which at the present time needs the collaboration of everyone so that with its independence conflicts, deaths and being on the run might cease and its commitment to non-violence can be reaffirmed with a peaceful solution to living together. Finally, there is the Mideast, where our schools and universities “are promoters of peace, landmarks of understanding and sincere relationships among believers of diverse creeds and religions.” May their efforts be multiplied among institutions s that soon we can appreciate peace blowing in the wind that will open borders, change minds and seek lasting accords.

A gift of God

We cannot forget that all our efforts are useless if God is not the center of our lives and our plans: we should pray individually and as a group so that the Lord and Master of peace in our hearts pours out in harmony, solidarity and peaceful living among all people in the world and that he sow the seeds of peace in places where the roots of evil, wars and violence are impeding concord and stable peace.

Young Lasallians, be optimists! Do not subject yourselves to the defeatists in this fight for peace. In this regard, we need to gratefully welcome so many “acts, actions and plans” which, day by day, year after year, make peace real in our world; men and women, young people and children who have sincerely devoted their lives in order to achieve a “culture of peace and human understanding.”

Let us thank the Lord for all acts of peace achieved during the year and ask him once again for the gift of peace. Let us offer him our personal and community commitment and “do what we can so that this gift reaches all humankind effectively: peace in our hearts, disarming our spirit; peace in all places, making each family a place of constructive living together; peace in our countries and in the world, as a result of the recognition of dignity and the rights of all people and of a sincere will for reconciliation based on respect” (Benedict XVI).

                                                                                                Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría

                                                                                                                                 Superior General

 

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