Hundreds of people, including many from the Syrian Christian community of Edmonton, filled St. Joseph's Basilica on Saturday to pray with Archbishop Smith for peace in Syria. The Mass marked a national day of fasting and prayer called for by the Bishops of Canada, and the conclusion of a joint appeal with Development and Peace for funds to assist Syrians who have been forced to flee as refugees to neighbouring countries.

"Many of our Syrian brothers and sisters are with us here this afternoon," Archbishop Smith said during his homily. "We know that you ache for your beloved homeland, and we want to assure all of you of our solidarity, love and support.

There is no more effective way to demonstrate our solidarity than through shared prayer. From the depths of our hearts we must continue to pray, confident that the Lord alone has the power to change hearts, to bring about surprising new possibilities and to lead us to reconciliation and peace."

Read the full text of the Archbishop's homily