Wednesday, July 23, 2014

August 1: Day of Prayer and Penance for Christians Being Persecuted in Iraq

We here at Breviarium S.O.P. blog site unite our hearts and minds in prayer, with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), in making Friday, August 1st, a day of penance and prayer for our fellow Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5)
This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes. 

There are many Dominican priests and nuns, actively working to alleviate the suffering of the Christian and Moslem populations of the areas that are under persecution in Iraq.  Little information has been received about their status or condition.  We can only pray and offer suffrages for them as they undergo this trial, that they will be strengthened with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and that their suffering will be a superabundant source of actual grace for the conversion of their persecutors.

In the Dominican Rite, August 1st was traditionally the feast of St. Peter in Chains, with a privileged commemoration of the Holy Maccabees.  After the calendar revision of 1960, the feast of St. Peter in Chains was dropped, and it became a ferial day with a privileged commemoration of the Holy Maccabees.  Who apropos, that in addition to St. Peter in Chains, this day also commemorates the horrible persecution that was suffered by the Holy Maccabees for the one true God.


May the fraternal group of your martyrs give us joy, Lord.  May it give to our faith a harvest of good works and encourage us by repeated intercession.  Through our Lord.

St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, pray for them.  Holy Maccabees, pray for them.