Prayers for Middle East

Catholics across England and Wales will be remembering the people of the Middle East in their prayers this Sunday.

4 December marks the Feast of St John Damascene, a priest and doctor of the church who was born in Damascus in 675 and died near Jerusalem around 749.

The bishops of England and Wales chose the date as a day of prayer this year to be a "sign of solidarity" with the people of the Middle East.

They express concerns for the situation in Syria in particular and said they hoped Christians, Muslims and Jews in the whole region would work for reconciliation and justice.

A special prayer for peace has been written specially for the occasion:

O God of peace, who are peace itself
and whom a spirit of discord cannot grasp,
nor a violent mind receive,
grant that those who are one in heart
may persevere in what is good
and that those in conflict
may forget evil and so be healed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
St John Damascene, pray for us.