First Communication of The New International Promoter of JP for DSI- Prayer for Peace

Celestina Veloso

Dearest Sisters,

At the beginning of September, I was appointed as the Promoter of Justice and Peace for DSI and co-chair of the International Dominican Commission with Fr Carlos Linera, OP.

Last April, I took part in the meeting of the International Commission of Justice and Peace, headed by Fr Carlos Rodriguez Linera and our Sr Toni Harris. It was a very interesting experience, also because I already knew most of the Continental Promoters who participated in the meeting. Those days were filled with sincere communion and sharing of experiences. The conclusions adopted will be the primary task of our Commission.

Since I arrived in Rome, I have been going through series of orientations in preparation for my work and adapting myself to this new reality. I participated in JPIC (Justice and Peace and Integrity of the Creation) Promoters Meetings of various congregations that have their General House here in Rome. There are two groups: one is Spanish/Portuguese speaking and the other is English speaking. They meet once a month at the UISG office to share their experiences especially those that are related to the mission of JPIC.

Last May, I was invited to participate in the VII° Assembly of DSI which was a good opportunity for me to meet the other sisters and 84 Prioress Generals. The main aspects of the Assembly were very interesting and if you visit our Website you will be able to find all the topics and the dynamics of the Assembly.

Another experience which was, I think, for me very important, besides the study of English and Italian language, is participation in some celebrations and audiences of Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square. I think that with his posture, gestures and words we can already guess his intentions and his priorities, as Bishop of Rome and Universal Shepherd.

Last Sunday (1st September), at St. Peter’s Square, many of us felt a strong emotion when Pope Francis loudly called for peace and invited all peoples of the world to pray and fast in solidarity for peace.

These were his words:

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from deep within me.

All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all humanity!

To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention”.

I think that this is the right moment for us all to gather as a Church and as Dominican sisters to express our overall solidarity and fraternity, praying God for our sisters who live in places affected by war and violence.

When you plan for the triennium work or the annual planning, send also to them the various information, because I believe in the force of the Union, in the working team and in the common research of alternatives to confront the challenges that occur in our mission and in the different realities in which we live.

Let us keep in touch, because I think that we need to organize, various activities together with the congregations here in Rome. I will appreciate during this month of September, to plan our first meeting in order to prepare a calendar together.

I will contact the continental Promoters to put into practice the decisions taken during our last Committee meeting (last April) and I will also contact the JPIC promoters of the congregations of the European Continent to arrange for a future meeting, considering the distances and the different languages.

I thank you all in advance for the trust and ask you to join me in prayer. I would also like to express my most sincere thanks for the services rendered in the past six years, by our dear Sr Toni, for her dedication and achievements. I would also like to thank all for the warm welcome I received, not only the sisters of my community, but also the friars of Santa Sabina, the DSI team, the secretaries and our Sr Colomba who lives in Villa Rosa, and who in the past three months have been giving me English lessons.

Aware of the responsibility assumed and entrusting myself to God's grace, I get back to you as required by the mission which I have accepted, knowing that without your cooperation and support, I will not be able to achieve much.

United in prayer and in the ideals of St Dominic that brings us together as sisters, I send my affectionate embrace.


Sr. Celestina Veloso OP (Tina)

(12 September 2013)