In remarks made after a Mass to mark World Peace Day, marked by Catholics on 1 January, Pope Francis said that peace is rooted in the strength of humility.
"Peace requires the force of meekness, the non-violent strength of truth and of love," he stressed, speaking after saying the Angelus prayer in St Peter's Square, Rome.
The pontiff declared: “Following in the footsteps of my predecessors, beginning with Paul VI, I have developed this theme ... based on the conviction that we are all children of one Heavenly Father, we are part of the same human family, and we share a common destiny.
"Thus we all have the shared responsibility to work to make the world into a community of brothers and sisters who respect each other, accept diversity and take care of each other. We are also called to be aware of the violence and injustice that exist in many parts of the world and to which we should [not] remain indifferent and immobile: the commitment of all is necessary to build a more just and caring society. From every corner of the earth, today believers raise prayers to the Lord for the gift of peace and the ability to bring it to every place."
“On this, the first day of the year”, added Pope Francis, “may the Lord help us to set out more decisively on the path of justice and peace; may the Holy Spirit act in our hearts, loosening bonds and warming hardened hearts so that they open up to the tenderness and weakness of the Child Jesus. Peace requires the force of meekness, the non-violent strength of the truth and of love."
The Pope also thanked the various groups which have arranged prayer initiatives dedicated to peace, in particular the national March which began on 31 December in Campobasso, Italy, organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference, Caritas and Pax Christi; the Sant'Egidio Community; and the families of the Movement of Family Love, who spent the night praying in St Peter's Square,and the volunteers of Fraterna Domus.
The World Day of Peace, unofficially known as World Peace Day, is a feast day of the Catholic Church dedicated to peace, held on 1 January, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
The Day was introduced in 1967 by Pope Paul VI, inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris of Pope John XXIII and with reference to his own encyclical Populorum Progressio. The day was first observed on 1 January 1968.