Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Thursday 09 February |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Marianus Scotus of Regensburg
Aleteia logo
Spirituality
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Why St. Paul VI started the World Day of Peace on January 1

PAULUS VI

Public domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/30/22

The first World Day of Peace was on January 1, 1968, inaugurated by St. Paul VI.

Send us the names of your loved ones who are sick or suffering. The Aleteia prayer network of 550 monasteries will take them to prayer for the World Day of the Sick.

Click here to share your intentions

In the Catholic Church, January 1 is known as the “World Day of Peace,” and is a day when the pope expresses his prayer for peace in the world.

This tradition started on January 1, 1968, and was started by Pope St. Paul VI.

Pope Paul explained his hope for this annual observance in his first message for the World Day of Peace.

We address Ourself to all men of good will to exhort them to celebrate “The Day of Peace” throughout the world, on the first day of the year, January 1, 1968. It is Our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.

St. Paul VI believed that by starting the year off with a day of peace, it would focus the world’s attention in praying and working for peace in the New Year.

He also hoped this day would be accepted by everyone, not only Catholics.

The Catholic Church, with the intention of service and of example, simply wishes to “launch the idea,” in the hope that it may not only receive the widest consent of the civilized world, but that such an idea may find everywhere numerous promoters, able and capable of impressing on the “Day of Peace,” to be celebrated on the first day of every new year, that sincere and strong character of conscious humanity, redeemed from its sad and fatal bellicose conflicts, which will give to the history of the world a more happy, ordered and civilized development.

At the same time, he did not want this day to be merely the expression of hollow words of peace, but a sincere commitment to true and lasting peace.

A warning must be kept in mind. Peace cannot be based on a false rhetoric of words which are welcomed because they answer to the deep, genuine aspirations of humanity, but which can also serve, and unfortunately have sometimes served, to hide the lack of true spirit and of real intentions for peace, if not indeed to mask sentiments and actions of oppression and party interests.

It is, therefore, to true Peace, to just and balanced Peace, in the sincere recognition of the rights of the human person and of the independence of the individual nations, that We invite men of wisdom and strength to dedicate this Day.

All the popes after St. Paul VI have observed this day, and it has truly become a “World Day of Peace,” when millions of people around the globe pray for peace.

Tags:
LiturgyPeacePope
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.