Pope St. John Paul II: ‘Peace Will Be the Last Word of History’

‘Pray with Mary, the Queen of Peace,’ exhorted St. John Paul II

Pope John Paul II offers Mass at the Chaika airfield on June 24, 2001, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Pope John Paul II offers Mass at the Chaika airfield on June 24, 2001, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. (photo: Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images)

On Jan. 1, 1979, Pope St. John Paul II gave his World Day of Peace message. The following excerpt is the end of that speech.

We do not claim to find in the Gospel text ready-made formulas for making today this or that advance towards peace. But on almost every page of the Gospel and of the history of the Church we find a spirit, that of brotherly love, powerfully teaching peace. We find, in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and in the sacraments, a strength drawn from the divine source. We find, in Christ, a hope. Setbacks cannot render vain the work of peace, even if the immediate results prove to be fragile, even if we are persecuted for our witness in favor of peace. Christ the Savior associates with his destiny all those who work with love for peace.

Prayer for peace

Peace is our work: It calls for our courageous and united action. But it is inseparably and above all a gift of God: It requires our prayer. Christians must be in the first rank of those who pray daily for peace. They must also teach others to pray for peace. It will be their joy to pray with Mary, the Queen of Peace.

To everyone, Christians, believers, and men and women of goodwill, I say: Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace. The aspiration for peace will not be disappointed forever. Work for peace, inspired by charity which does not pass away, will produce its fruits. Peace will be the last word of history.

 ‘Maternal Mantle’ 

In 2001, during his visit to Ukraine, at the Greek-Catholic Church of St. Nicholas in Kyiv (Kiev), John Paul II spoke this prayer, in part, to Our Lady of Zarvaniza:

Holy Mother of God,
spread your maternal mantle over all Christians
and over all people of goodwill
who live in this great nation.

Lead them to your Son, Jesus,
who is for everyone the way, the truth and the life.


Statue of Mother Mary in St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral, Kyiv/Kiev, Ukraine Shutterstock
The above statue of Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus is in St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine. | Shutterstock