Blog Post

Catholics in Guam Pray for Peace

At the beginning of what could be a pivotal week in the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, residents on the tiny island nation that has found itself in the crosshairs of a possible missile attack are turning to prayer in the quest for peace.

Pacific Daily News (PDN) is reporting on the remarkable calm that is prevailing on the island of Guam which is under threat of ballistic missile strike by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The world’s most repressive regime had been steadily ramping up its threats against the United States, threatening the mainland until it finally settled on the island of Guam with its strong U.S. military presence.

Last Wednesday, North Korea’s state media reported that the country was preparing to strike U.S. military targets in Guam with medium-range ballistic missiles to create “enveloping fire.”

President Trump responded with a threat of his own, warning North Korea that to attack Guam would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes of the Archdiocese of Agana, Guam, asked all parishes in offer a Mass for peace on Sunday. The largely Catholic population of the exquisitely beautiful western Pacific island is taking his advice and relying on faith to keep themselves calm.

“We really have no control over what the leader of North Korea and when or if he plans on using his nuclear trigger finger,” said Danilo Rapadas, 57, to PDN as he was leaving a Prayer for Peace Mass at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica on Sunday morning. “So I think I’d rather think about things that I can control. A love for my family, the island, what I go through on a day-to-day basis, and just go through that and remember my support group. ... If I live my life with my family and friends and everybody in mind then I’m happy, whatever happens.”

But there is definitely fear among the people, said Ronnie Connelly. “I think it’s important especially today to pray for peace, and for two people being able to come together, two leaders of the world, and think that there is a bigger picture that encompasses everybody rather than to have such huge conflict. And actually, for our small island, I think that it is quite scary, because we don’t know.”

Veteran John Taimanglo, 62, who underwent nuclear-related training in the Army, admitted that the threat was serious.

“It’s not something to joke about,” he told PDN. “I never thought … this day would ever come to Guam. Nobody ever thought about that. I feel like someone has to do something about it, and I think President Trump is doing the right thing. … Let’s just go down and be real and let him take care of business.”

One of the most powerful weapons to be used during tense times such as these has nothing to do with nuclear warheads or ICBMS - it’s a string of beads held in the hand of a faithful soul.

The Rosary is a tried-and-true weapon that has brought about great military victories as well as astonishing conversions. If there was ever a time to bring out this weapon and use it, the time is now!

When prayed with intentionality and devotion, asking Our Lady to take us into the mysteries of her Son’s life, an on-going transformation takes place in our soul which makes us more Christ-like and, subsequently, our prayer more powerful and efficacious. This also applies when we pray the Rosary with others.

“In union with our brothers and sisters in the faith, the transforming dynamic of the Rosary unites all of us in Christ’s prayer of intercession that forever ascends to the throne of the Father,” writes Johnnette Benkovic and Thomas K. Sullivan in their new book, The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare. “And our prayer becomes mystically caught up in his.”

Let us all find inspiration in the courageous faith of the people of Guam and join together in the prayer of the Rosary to diffuse the current crisis and bring about a peaceful end to the threat imposed upon the world by weapons of mass destruction.

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