PLEADING FOR PUBLIC PRAYER
To Our Venerable Brothers, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries in Friendship and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren: Greetings and the Apostolic Blessing.
1. Now when holy Mother Church is joyously celebrating the annual solemnity of the Paschal Sacrament, she reminds her faithful of the joyful message of peace, which the risen Jesus Christ, having conquered death and overthrown the tyranny of the evil one, frequently and lovingly announced to His apostles and disciples; by contrast, the most dire sound of war among Catholic nations arises and is heard by all. Christ at His birth announced His peace to men of good will through angels, and later, left His peace to His disciples. Because of our love and care for Catholic peoples, we cannot refrain from crying out again and again for peace.
2. And so We exhort you, to stir the faithful committed to your vigilance in view of your outstanding piety, to turn to God in prayer, so that He might grant His deeply desired peace to all. For the same reason We have ordered that public prayers be offered by all within the Papal Territories to the most kind Father of Mercies. Following the illustrious example of Our predecessors, We have decided to have recourse to your prayers and those of the whole Church. And so We ask that you order public prayers in your dioceses as soon as possible. Having implored the patronage of Mary, may your faithful strenuously beseech our merciful God to turn his wrath from us and banish war to the very ends of the earth. By doing this, he may illuminate all minds by His divine grace and inflame all hearts with the love of Christian peace. He may insure that all may be rooted in faith and love. These then would diligently keep His holy Commandments and humbly beseech His forgiveness for their sins. Turning aside from evil and doing good, they would walk in the ways of justice, exercise mutual charity among themselves and obtain salutary peace with God, with themselves, and with all men.
3. We do not doubt that in view of your proven respect toward Us and this Holy See, that you will be desirous to fulfill with all diligence these Our desires and prayers. But to encourage the faithful in the prayers you decree, We have resolved to proffer and draw from the treasury of heavenly graces, whose dispensation the Most High has granted to Us. Wherefore We grant to these faithful, as often as they have been devoutly present at and completed the prayers We have mentioned, three hundred days indulgence in the customary form granted by the Church. Moreover, during the time of these prayers, We grant to these faithful a plenary indulgence once a month; it is to be received on the same day on which they have been duly absolved of their sins in Confession, have received Holy Communion, and have piously visited a place of worship where they have recited prayers for this purpose.
4. In conclusion, We are indeed happy to use this occasion also to attest again and confirm the special benevolence which We have for you all, venerable brothers. May the Apostolic Blessing which from the depths of Our heart We most lovingly grant especially to you, venerable brothers, and to all the clergy and laity entrusted to each of you, be a guarantee of Our most zealous good will toward you.
Given in Rome at St. Peter's, 27 April, 1859, in the 13th year of Our Pontificate.