Throughout the world the Muslim community began the holy month of Ramadan on 1 August. In a statement marking this special period American friars explain the meaning of Ramadan and suggest prayer intentions for each day of the month as a gesture of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.











The Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart, Saint Louis, MO


July 31, 2011

Our Muslim brothers and sisters begin Ramadan tomorrow, August 1, 2011.  Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast.

During their sacred month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking. 

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. They are to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits – essentially to clean up their lives, their thoughts, and their feelings. The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.

During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.

Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.

We Franciscans – from our earliest history as Friars Minor when Francis visited the Sultan in Egypt – have a special kinship with the Muslims which many others do not understand.  Because of that kinship and because of the passion of our charism to strive for peace, we stand in solidarity with all of Islam during their holy month of Ramadan as we pray with them and for them. May the spirituality of Ramadan inspire us to follow more closely the spirituality of St. Francis.

The JPIC Office of Sacred Heart Province invites every friar and every fraternity to offer a prayer each day of August for God’s blessing on the observance of Ramadan.

May God bless you and your ministry with his choicest blessing, and may God bless the Muslims during their blessed month of Ramadan!


Friar Maury Smith OFM (

Provincial JPIC Animator





Prayer Intentions


the Days of Ramadan











August 1:     For the deepening of the spiritual realities of life

August 2:     For the deepening effort to know, love, and serve God, especially among


August 3:     For deeper awareness of the possibilities of peace, harmony, and collaboration

August 4:     For the good will and well-being of people in countries with a majority of


August 5:     For the people seeking freedom in the face of oppression and violence

August 6:     For peace among the people of Saudi Arabia

August 7:     For peace among the people of Palestine , Israel , and Lebanon

August 8:     For peace among the people of Syria

August 9:     For peace among the people of Turkey

August 10:   For peace among the people of Iran

August 11:   For peace among the people of Iraq and Afghanistan

August 12:   For peace among the people of Pakistan

August 13:   For peace among the people of India

August 14:   For peace among the people of Indonesia

August 15:   For peace among the people of Malaysia

August 16:   For peace among the people of Tajikistan

August 17:   For peace among the people of Egypt

August 18:   For peace among the people of Tunisia

August 19:   For peace among the people of Libya

August 20:   For peace among the people of Morocco

August 21:   For peace among the people of Sudan and South Sudan

August 22:   For peace among the people of Somalia , Eritrea , and Ethiopia

August 23:   For peace among the people of Chad

August 24:   For peace among the other peoples of Africa

August 25:   For peace among people in Asia

August 26:   For peace among people in Australia , New Zealand , Papua New Guinea ,

                     and East Timor

August 27:   For peace among the Pacific Ocean nations

August 28:   For peace among people in Russia and its neighbors

August 29:   For peace among the people of Europe

August 30:   For peace among peoples in the Americas

August 31:   For peace throughout the whole world