by Sr. Teresia Wamũyũ Wachira (IBVM)
Co-President of Pax Christi International
Blessings, joy and peace, to you all this New Year 2021.
As we usher in this New Year, we are aware of the uniqueness of 2020. Bishop Marc Stenger and I (copresidents), Greet Vanaerschot and the team at the International Secretariat in Brussels, thank each one of you for your support in different ways, your commitment and service to the vulnerable among your families and neighborhoods. We express our gratitude for your courage, care and compassion as you went about your lives and service despite the different forms of loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We feel with those of you who have lost loved ones, jobs and even property, as you try to cope with this ‘new normal’. Equally, we express our gratitude to those in caring professions that have left all to “lay down their lives” for their brothers and sisters during this pandemic. Though we do not know what the future will bring, we are hopeful and live in faith that the Creator God who has walked humbly and lovingly with us will continue to protect us, our families, communities and our global world in the New Year 2021 and beyond.
I share this reflection on Pope Francis’s 54th World Day of Peace message and invite each one of you to journey with me in internalizing and acting creatively on this profound message. The message is full of grace-filled, life-giving insights and hope and is challenging as well. It calls us to go beyond the Covid-19 reality, to the year 2021 and beyond.
In his earlier reflections on the World Days of Peace, and in the two Encyclicals ‘Laudato Si’ and ‘Fratelli Tutti’, Pope Francis intertwines love and care of the environment and of humanity (called to be each other’s keeper). In his 2021 World Day of Peace message, ‘A culture of care as a path to peace’, the Pope echoes this when he invites us once more to commit ourselves to care and compassion, by promoting each person’s dignity, being in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable and working towards the common good and concern for the protection of creation. This has been an ongoing invitation for all of us due to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change reality. Similarly, this global experience has kept us focused on the fact that we are all interconnected irrespective of our gender, creed, race, different affiliations, socio-economic and political status…