Catholic parishes in England and Wales will this week be preparing to celebrate Peace Sunday on 20 January 2008, with its theme derived from an annual global message from the Pope. This year the focus is building communal solidarity - "The Human Family: Community of Peace".
Pax Christi, the Catholic peace network, has provided every parish in the country with liturgy and reflection materials for use with young people, children and adults to help mark the day. Hundreds of churches have registered already.
Ms Pat Gaffney, general secretary of Pax Christi, explained: "Pax Christi has worked since the 1960s to help promote the Pope's World Peace Day message. Each year we see more and more parishes becoming involved - using our resources with creativity and imagination to help communicate a message of peace."
She continued: "This year we know that people will be praying especially for communities in Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq - reflecting the images we see daily on our television screens. These remind us of the need to work for peace every day - to discover what part we may be playing as a country in contributing to violence in the world and act to challenge this."
Concluded Ms Gaffney: "This is what solidarity is about - finding practical and real ways of being with people in times of violence and warfare."