Across Guam where nearly everyone is Catholic priests prayed for peace as residents of the United States Pacific island territory face a missile threat from North Korea.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes instructed priests in Guam’s 26 churches to offer prayers for peace between the two nations and courage for military forces on the island. He asked for prayers for “just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action”.
Guam’s Catholic faithful attended Sunday Mass after several days of dramatic rhetoric between the two nuclear-armed nations. President Donald Trump threatened swift and forceful retaliation against North Korea, declaring the US military “locked and loaded”.
There has not been any widespread anxiety among Guam residents, even after Pyongyang vowed to complete a plan to attack waters near the island by mid-August.
Monte Mesa, who is vice-chairman of the Guam Visitors’ Bureau, said he found comfort in the Mass at Blessed Diego de San Vitores Catholic Church in Tumon.
“That God is in control of what is happening and if we have faith and believe in God all this rhetoric and war possibility here on Guam will be taken care of by God,” he said after the crowded Mass.
The Church is a major influence on the devout island where 85% of the 160,000 population is Catholic.