October 4 is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francesco (as he is known is Italian) was born in 1181 and died in 1226. Born into wealth, he chose poverty and thus presented his contemporaries with a living image of what a disciple of Jesus should be. He and those who followed him owned nothing but were always cheerful in proclaiming the message of God’s love for all creatures.

Francis visited the Holy Land at the time of the Crusades and preached peace, even visiting the Muslim ruler in Egypt, al-Malik al-Kamil. He is said to have received in his body the wounds of Jesus on the Cross (the stigmata), confirming that he was indeed a faithful disciple of the Crucified and Risen Jesus.

Today, Francis’ sons and daughters, men and women Franciscans, are present all over the Holy Land. The Franciscans are the custodians of the Holy Places and serve not only as guardians of the Christian shrines but also serve the Christian faithful with their churches, schools and social programs. The women religious, founded by Francis’s companion, Saint Clare, live lives of poverty and contemplative prayer in Jerusalem and Nazareth.

The Hebrew speaking Catholic Vicariate in Israel is served by Franciscans (Father Apolinary Szwed, Brother Alberto Pari, the Franciscan Sisters in the Jerusalem and Jaffa communities, etc). In a special way, we wish them happy feast!

Among Francis’s most famous prayers is the one for peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not
So much seek to be consoled
As to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born
to eternal life.


We present this prayer here in different versions to honor Saint Francis and his sons and daughters, especially those who work within the Hebrew-speaking Catholic Vicariate in Israel.

1. Pope John Paul II prays the prayer in Italian
View and listen

2. Angelina sings the traditional version
View and listen

3. The Philippine Madrigal Singers sing the prayer
View and listen

4. Michael Linder and children pray the prayer
View and listen

5. International Peace Performers sing a prayer derived from the traditional prayer
View and listen