S+L LIVE Broadcast of Pope Francis’ Prayer Vigil for Peace in Syria

Vigil cropped

On this worldwide day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, Salt and Light is pleased to broadcast the Vigil of Prayer with Pope Francis LIVE from St. Peter’s Square beginning at 1pm ET / 10am PT. You can tune in either by watching our television network or viewing our live stream at saltandlighttv.org/live.

For more information on why we fast and pray for peace:

The following is a special prayer for peace in Syria composed by Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a joint initiative of the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services:

God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from the violence, Bring comfort to those mourning the dead, Strengthen Syria’s neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees, Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, And protect those committed to peace.

God of Hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies, Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, And give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World, Amen.

Petition: For the people of Syria, that God may strengthen the resolve of leaders to end the fighting and choose a future of peace. Let us pray to the Lord.

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pennsylvania priest leads mission to help minority Christians

Since its founding in 1926, the need for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has only grown. This papal agency, created by Pius XI to support the Eastern Catholic Churches, is helping sustain vulnerable Christian populations amidst poverty and violence. Leading this mission is Msgr. John Kozar, a priest from the diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who previously served as national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. Witness host Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB speaks with Msgr. Kozar during his recent visit to Canada.

Holy Father’s prayer intentions for January 2013

Join us in prayer for the intentions entrusted to us by Pope Benedict XVI. For January 2013, we join the Holy Father in praying for:

The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.

Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.

Daily Offering Prayer
God, our Father, I offer You my day. I offer You my prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, Who guided Jesus, be my guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love. With Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Church, I pray for all Apostles of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father this month. Amen.
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Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Dec. 5

Tonight on Perspectives Pope Benedict apealled for help to Congo, the Bishops of England held a day of prayer for the Middle East and we take a look at today’s general audience.

Across the Divide Tour hits the nation’s capital

This past Wednesday, the S+L team was on hand at Saint Paul University in Ottawa to host the fourth national screening of our latest film Across the Divide. And what an event it was!

At a cocktail reception before the film, church dignitaries mingled with people from all walks of life, including a Canadian senator, all interested in learning about the current situation of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

As the event drew near, our marketing team was delighted to see a lineup of people patiently waiting to purchase tickets at the door. Soon, the theater was filled to near-capacity.

Without a doubt, the film evoked a wide range of emotions from the audience — from sadness, to sympathy, to a strong motivation to take action. One of the most interesting aspects of the event, however, was the Q&A panel discussion featuring the Archbishop of Ottawa, Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast; Carl Hétu, the National Director of CNEWA Canada; Kris Dmytrenko, the film’s writer and co-director; and Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, Salt + Light’s CEO. Even more than at our previous screenings in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax, this event elicited a very politically-charged discussion and a call-to-action from the crowd.
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A Church awakening: S+L film comes to Ottawa

Has their moment finally come? After this weekend, many Christians in the Middle East must feel their hope renewed.

Pope Benedict arrived in Lebanon on Friday, at a time when other foreign leaders might have cancelled their travel plans to the volatile region. Though civil wars and protests still dominate the headlines, the pontiff’s three-day trip drew attention to longstanding issues of insecurity, unemployment and religious persecution. For these reasons and others, Arab Christians are quietly but quickly leaving the lands where their faith was born. The Pope’s presence in Lebanon, along with the release of his highly anticipated message Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, aims to awaken the world to this Christian exodus.

My own awakening took place when I visited Bethlehem to film the S+L documentary Across the Divide, which will be screened at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:15 pm.

When I introduced myself to students at Bethlehem University — the only Catholic university in the Holy Land — I would often hear in response, “You’re from Canada? My brother/sister/cousin is now living there!”

On one level, I was heartened to hear that, given the 23.5% unemployment rate in the West Bank, their loved ones made a livelihood in Canada. At the same time, I felt sadness, knowing that the Holy Land is impoverished by every Christian who emigrates.

Not one of the students I met would admit that they planned to leave their homeland. But privately, they all can’t help but wonder whether future conditions in the West Bank will allow them to stay.

Our new film, Across the Divide, introduces audiences to young Christians in the Holy Land and the difficult choices they face. Following the screening on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion featuring Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, Carl Hétu from CNEWA Canada, and Salt + Light’s Fr. Thomas Rosica. For more information, including how to reserve your ticket, visit the Across the Divide website.

Pope in Lebanon: The exhortation is signed, sealed, delivered!

One of the most significant moments of the Holy Father’s trip to Lebanon thus far has been the signing of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Eccleisa in Medio Oriente. He signed the message yesterday during his visit to the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa. He then presented it to the people of Lebanon earlier today. This all comes following a special Synod of Bishops in the Middle East that took place at the Vatican in 2010. You will find published below a copy of Pope Benedict’s address that he gave as he presented the text.

Your Beatitudes, Your Eminences,
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The liturgical celebration in which we have just taken part was an opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held in October 2010 on the theme: The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.  “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32).  I would like to thank all the Synod Fathers for their contribution. My gratitude also goes to the Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Eterovi?, for the work achieved and for his words on your behalf.
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Living stones: Who are the Christians of the Holy Land?

Today the Pope landed in Lebanon to release his highly-anticipated message about the Christians of the Middle East. Why are the Christians struggling? And how can the Pope help them? On Catholic Focus, we interview the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church and an Armenian Orthodox peace activist. We ask them what they expect the Pope to say in his message, titled “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente”, which was signed today at a Melkite Basilica in Harissa and will be released at the open-air closing mass in Beirut on Sunday. (Visit our papal visit webpage for broadcast times.)

Starting Friday, watch the Pope in Lebanon on S+L

Salt + Light Television is proud to bring you live daily coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to Lebanon from September 14-16. On his fourth trip to the Middle East as Pope, he will present the conclusions from the 2010 Synod of Bishops on the Middle East. This will be his first trip to the region since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Join Salt + Light’s Kris Dmytrenko for coverage of the three day trip. He will be joined in studio on Saturday and Sunday by Fr. Youssef Chedid, a Maronite priest from Our Lady of Lebanon Parish in Toronto.

Associate Producer Andrew Santos will also provide you with the latest information on our blog, Facebook and Twitter, including presentations, speeches and photos. Send us a comment, ask a question or like our status updates. Tell us throughout the weekend: how important is Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon considering the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East?

The Pope’s televised activities include the arrival ceremony, meetings with young people and other faith leaders, the official presentation of the concluding document from the Synod on the Middle East, and Holy Mass with the Lebanese faithful at Beirut’s City Centre Waterfront. For more information, visit our papal visit webpage.

Read on for the complete broadcast schedule.
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Faith can lead to peace in the Middle East

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been speaking about our newest documentary, Abraham’s Tent, which features the Kids 4 Peace Program. This wonderful initiative brings Jewish, Muslim and Christian youth from Israel over to an outdoor camp in Canada, where they spend two weeks with a multi-faith group of Canadian youth. It is a powerful story of faith, hope and friendship that shows how children have figured out how to achieve world peace.

This week, on a rebroadcast of Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, I speak with Fr. Samuel Barhoum, director of the Kids 4 Peace program in Galilee. He and his wife Susan discuss the peace process in the Middle East as they witness it, being two Anglican Arabs living in Galilee. They were here at S+L after the Kids 4 Peace camp ended and told us about inter-faith relations in the Holy Land.

If you have not yet watched Abraham’s Tent, this episode will serve to whet your appetite. Father Barhoum has the conviction that to foster peace we must seek to know one another. He believes that by nourishing friendships across religions beginning in the younger generations,  we will establish a true and lasting peace.

I should take the opportunity also to let you know that Kids 4 Peace is an on-going program and it’s completely free to the participants. If you know an 11-year old and would like to give him or her an experience of a lifetime, visit kids4peace.ca.

Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night at 7pm ET, 8pm PT for this engaging conversation about how faith and friendship can lead to peace. Visit us on our Facebook page or on our Perspectives page for all of the updates and to share with us your thoughts.

And if you missed it, be sure to watch Abraham’s Tent, which will air this Sunday, April 22 at 2:00pm ET, 11am PT (9pm in Israel).