World Day of Peace

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The World Day of Peace is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to peace, held on 1 January, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It was introduced in 1967 by Paul VI, inspired by the encyclical Pacem in terris of John XXIII and with reference to his own encyclical Populorum progressio. The day was first observed on 1 January 1968.

The World Day of Peace has often been a time when popes make magisterial declarations relevant to the social doctrine of the Church. Paul VI and John Paul II have each year made important statements on the United Nations, human rights, women's rights, labor unions, economic development, the right to life, international diplomacy, peace in the Holy Land, globalization and terrorism.[1]

In England and Wales, 'Peace Sunday' is traditionally kept on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, which is the Sunday falling between 14 and 20 January inclusive. Suggested material is prepared each year by the UK branch of the Pax Christi movement.[2]


  1. Pope Assails Totalitarianism, Intolerance Religion: John Paul, in World Day of Peace message, also calls fundamentalism a threat to peace. Los Angeles Times
  2. Letter of Bishop Malcolm McMahon to Catholic Parishes in England and Wales for Peace Sunday 2012, partially quoted at [1]

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