Witnessing for Peace on Ash Wednesday 2023

It seems that Christmas is hardly over when we are thinking about Ash Wednesday on 22nd February 2023. However, with Peace Sunday in England and Wales on Sunday 15th January, the Columbans are currently working alongside Pax Christi to plan for witnessing to peace throughout the Spring and the coming year.

A key Christian vigil for Peace on Ash Wednesday will take place as a zoom at 7pm on the day.  The Columbans join others to lament the military violence threatened by the UK’s nuclear weapons programme. People interested in joining us can sign up at: https://paxchristi.org.uk/

The UK government will be called upon to sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The UK currently has the Trident nuclear weapons system and four nuclear submarines, which carry some of the UK’s 225 nuclear missiles.

Christians have responsibility to repent war policies, to name them as challenges to the Gospel, and to invite the UK government to turn away from a military security which is based on threat and fear. Ash Wednesday is a prayerful and serious call to conversion and nonviolence. Columbans are among those calling for a move towards a security based on cooperation, understanding and human rights. Columbans are members of Pax Christi International.

people pray
Christians pray outside the Military of Defence in London on Ash Wednesday 2022.

In a 2021 statement, the Columbans internationally said: “We share the anguish of people around the globe who have already suffered from the use of nuclear weapons and experience the despair of many who see their hope for a dignified life frustrated by the misappropriation of the world’s resources. As Christians, and people of goodwill, we must be actively involved with those who raise their voices in protest on this crucial issue of our times because it is at the heart of what it means to defend life and protect creation, now and for future generations.”

A Columban group will join Pax Christi UK in its Ash Wednesday witness on Zoom. Please register your interest in peace campaigning with the Columbans by emailing James Trewby, our JPE Co-ordinator: education@columbans.co.uk

Later in the year, a Columban group will also join a vigil at the 12th-15th September International Arms Fair at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in East London. Arms manufacturers, governments and military will display the most lethal weapons available in the world. The event takes place every two years, and on the opening day in 2023 Christian peace activists will gather at the site to pray and protest the arms fair. Again, please register your interest with James Trewby.

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A Christian protest in Coventry against nuclear weapons

May we become instruments of Peace

God, our Creator and Redeemer,
may we see the sorrow of war in the eyes of those who suffer and have known only violence in their lives.
Give us a voice for those who have no voice and are not heard;
those who know that there is no tomorrow in war,
and that the violence of weapons destroys both the beauty of creation and the joy of life.
That way, with your help, will we become true instruments of your peace.


Pax Christi 2023 Prayer Card

More information....

Our friends at Pax Christi have created a wonderful Peace Sunday Liturgy Booklet, ideal for use in local parishes.

Download the resource here