At ground zero, pope will pray for victims and families, world peace

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In addition to praying at ground zero in New York for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for their families, Pope Benedict XVI will pray for peace and understanding in the world.

On April 10 the Vatican posted on its Web site the missal Pope Benedict will use during his April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York; the missal includes the prayer he will recite at ground zero April 20.

Describing the site as "the scene of incredible violence and pain," the prayer asks God to grant eternal light and peace to all who died there when terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center. It also recalls those who died the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.

According to the missal, the pope will pray: "God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth."

The pope will ask God to "turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred."

And he will say, "God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events.

"Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain," the prayer says.

"Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all," it concludes.

The missal says the pope will begin the visit by kneeling in silence. He will then light a candle and recite the special prayer written for the occasion.

After he has finished the prayer and before he offers a solemn blessing to the small group of survivors and family members scheduled to attend, he will use holy water to bless the ground.

The text of the missal is available online.

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