World Day of Peace is celebrated on January 1st each year. It is a Catholic feast day dedicated to universal peace on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. This special feast day began in 1967 when Pope Paul VI announced that the world needs to be sensitized and oriented for peace and understanding. The theme of the feast has always been about creating a culture of care. Each year the Pope shares a message about the need to care and share tolerance for each other, and to create a society that focuses on good moral values and does not yield to the temptation to disregard others. The benefits of a peaceful society have been the emphasis of every year’s World Day of Peace.
What follows is an excerpt of the message from Pope Francis for this year – the 56th annual World Day of Peace.
“…it is my hope that in the coming New Year we can journey together, valuing the lessons that history has to teach us. I offer my best wishes to Heads of State and Government, to Heads of International Organizations, and to the leaders of the different religions. To all men and women of good will I express my prayerful trust that, as artisans of peace, they may work, day by day, to make this a good year! May Mary Immaculate, Mother of Jesus and Queen of Peace, intercede for us and for the whole world.” ~ Pope Francis