Celebrating International Day of Peace

Recovering Better for a Sustainable and Equitable World
International Day of Peace, September 21, 2021

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 and the first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. In 2001, the General Assembly established September 21 as an annual day of nonviolence and cease-fire. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the day, and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

We invite you to join us in prayer and reverence as we honor this International Day of Peace.



Opening Song:
Let there be Peace on Earth 
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me, Let There Be Peace on Earth, The peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father, Brothers all are we, Let me walk with my brother, In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take, Let this be my solemn vow, To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Source: LyricFind, Songwriters: Jill Jackson / Sy Miller

Opening Prayer:
Leader: We gather here as a community of believers to celebrate the International Day of Peace. We are reminded that we are all part of one global human family living together in a world that remains broken and divided. We join in prayer in hopes that the universal desire for peace may be realized. Loving God, help us to recognize that you call each one of us to commit ourselves to the effort for peace in the world. Amen.

In 2021, as we heal from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier… The pandemic has been accompanied by a surge in stigma, discrimination, and hatred, which only cost more lives instead of saving them: the virus attacks all without caring about where we are from or what we believe. Confronting this common enemy of humankind, all must remember that we are not each other’s enemy. To be able to recover from this pandemic, we must make peace with each other.

We must also make peace with nature. Despite travel restrictions and economic shutdowns, climate change is not on pause. We need a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts. In support of the 2021 theme “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”, we invite you to join others in the United Nations family as we focus on recovering better. Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate, online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic and as we recover.

Dear God,
We pray for another way of being; another way of knowing.
Across the difficult terrain of our existence we have attempted to build a highway
And is so doing have lost our footpath.            
God lead us to our footpath:
Lead us where in simplicity we may move at the speed of natural creatures, and feel the earth’s love beneath our feet. Lead us there where, step-by-step, we may feel the movement of creation in our hearts. And lead us where, side-by- side, we may feel the embrace of the common soul.
Nothing can be loved at speed. God lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights of the pilgrim; another way of knowing another way of being. Amen. 

Karen Mathias


Leader: Hear our voices, for they are the voices of the victims.
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: Hear our voices, for they are the voices of all who suffer when even one person acts in hate.
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: Hear our voices, for we acknowledge the brokenness of community, the separation within the human family, which allows hatred to flourish.
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: Hear our voices when we beg you, God, to instill in all human hearts the wisdom of peace and the presence of solidarity. 
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: Hear our voices, for we speak for the multitudes in every community, in every corner of the world, who do not want violence but are ready to walk the road of peace.
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: Hear our voices, and grant us insight and courage so we may always respond to hatred with love, to alienation with drawing into community and to violence with peace. 
     Response: We call to you, O God of peace.

Leader: We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace. We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty.  We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom, of joy, inspiration and renewal, places where all creatures may find acceptance and peace.

Let us search for these places in the world, in ourselves and in others. Let us restore them.

Let us strengthen and protect them and let us create them.

May we mend this outer world according to the truth of our inner life and may our souls be shaped and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom.

 Closing prayer:

Dear God of peace, justice and compassion:
We pray for peace in our world today.
We pray for justice in our world today.
We remember the poor and powerless who cannot defend themselves.
We pray for immigrants, minorities and all who are unjustly condemned.
We pray for all those who are suffering from the effects of the pandemic, whether physically, emotionally, or financially.
We pray for your love and compassion in the world today.
We pray for the victims of natural disasters; for the sick of mind and body; for the homeless, hungry and destitute.
We pray for all around the earth to recover better for a sustainable and equitable world. 
Source of all Movement, direct our steps ever closer to you.
Teach us to be gentle with all forms of life.
Lover of All, help us to be more open to all your creatures.
God of Indoors and Outdoors, may we find your presence wherever we go.
Grant us O God, your longings for Oneness in all of Life.
Finally, dear God, we ask that all who pray these prayers may have a love of peace, a commitment to justice, and deep compassion for those in any kind of need.
We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Prayers and readings (unless otherwise noted) adapted/inspired from:
– A prayer for peace by Pope John Paul II, “Education for Justice”
– United Nations un.org/peaceday
From When I talk to you Michael Leunig
– Lifting Women’s Voices: Prayers to Change the World, edited by Margaret Rose, Jenny TePaa, Jeanne Person, Abigail Nelson; Morehouse Publishing, New York, 2009, p. 275
– School Sisters of Notre Dame