Father Andrew: After prayer, 'fight for peace', work to make peace
Father Andrew Rosiak delivering his sermon on the first Friday for February and to start the Weekend of Prayer in Barbados.
Fr. Andrew Rosiak wants each Barbadian, resident and visitor to the island, to play their role in making this a peaceful society once more.
As he led mass at the St. Patrick's Cathedral today, Friday, February 1, 2019, to commence the Weekend of Prayer, he told the parishioners, "We have our part in making peace starting from our houses, our households, families, communities, and the nation and all over the world."
But he did not leave them to wonder how to make peace, instead he gave them advice and guidance during his short seven-minute sermon for the 12:00 pm mass.
"It is challenging but what do we do to make peace?
"It's not easy to be at peace with everyone, especially with our enemies. How do you deal with those difficult situations and difficult people? This is the question really. We feel bad when we meet opposition and we have difficult people around us, challenging us, and sometimes attacking us verbally, what do we do when those things happen? We have to pray for sure, but what do we do when we stop praying; when we go back to our offices, schools, communities, families, and we have to face the people who are difficult for us? What do we do?
"Let's ask God to help us, to give us strength to forgive, and to be patient and to keep silent at times, especially when we want to say something really violent. I believe it is better to keep silent even when we are suffering, instead of speaking bad words, difficult words, violent words when we are angry and then we normally regret those moments.
"Let us ask God to bless us in a special way today and to give us strength to fight for peace, starting with our hearts."
He went on to tell the congregation of about 100 persons in the Cathedral that if they are looking for peace, it starts from in your heart - "God gives us peace."
To the naysayers, who are questioning why pray at this time and where is God in the midst of violent and troubling times such as these, the Father reminded:
"The kingdom of God starts small but it grows and it gets stronger than anything esle... When you think of the kingdom of God, I believe you have decided especially now looking around us at what is happening in Barbados and the whole world, it is super easy to say where is the kingdom of God? There is so much violence. There is so much killing and shooting and stabbing and deaths all over the world. You may ask, 'Why is this kingdom of God not strong yet?'
"So maybe it is a good thing that we have today this Weekend of Prayer for Peace in Barbados because it is so difficult to see the power of the kingdom through our weakness, that is why we have to pray for it."
Father Andrew urged, "Remember the Gospel. I would like you to be patient. God is working it [His kingdom] is growing. We have our part but we are not controlling it. We can control only our lives. We can be as good as we can and as we want to, but everything else depends on God who is the King in the kingdom of God. He is present in this process.
"It doesn't always happen in the way we want [it] to, sometimes we have to get weaker for later to get stronger, and we have to change our ways and we have to think about it and we have to pray for it, like today we were asked for this weekend by the government of Barbados to pray for peace in Barbados in all the churches island-wide, and we want to do it.
"We have to pray for peace."
Reiterating that today is the first day of the three mandated days of prayer, he ended with prayers for peace and said, "We pray for peace in Barbados, Lord hear us!"
During the service, the parishioners also passed the peace amongst themselves.
Father Andrew is a Pallotine Father from Polland, and he serves in the Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown.