Our being together here to pray for peace signifies a continuation of the same open spirit in which the Day of Prayer was observed at Assisi in October 1986, when the leaders of different religious traditions came together to pray for peace. Their intention was to offer to the suffering world of today a powerful witness to the common commitment of religions to peace and to the cause of man, while all remained true to theiy own religious backgrounds and retained the identity of the faith of each.
We recognize and affirm that the search for peace is a fundamental aspect of every religion, according to which peace is not merely the absence of war, but the state of fraternal concord and the realization of the unity of the whole human family. Peace cannot exist without justice and love. As such, the desire for peace must be sincerely fostered by the followers of all religions.
When we pray, we cannot but confess our unworthiness for the task of peace.Therefore we pray for our own inner renewal, so that we may be more faithful to our commitment to peace. Praying for peace involves also working for peace, and even suffering for peace. Service and sacrifice for this cause takes different forms and methods, such as working for the resolution of conflicts, disarmament, development, the preservation of the environment, human rights, care for refugees, and the transformation of unjust social systems. Religious people have to make"a preferential option for the poor".
Our task is enormous and our own strength is insufficient. Thus we seek to go forward in the power of prayer. We are confident that the Supreme Being hears our trustful prayers and listens to our supplications. Prayers and meditations cleanse our hearts and souls and make us humble instruments of peace.
May our example of coming together here to pray for peace be followed and multiplied elsewhere in the world, and may the great gift of peace, for which all humanity yearns, be granted in our time.