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Pope Francis holds day of fasting and prayer and Latin Patriarch calls for ‘mercy and justice’

27 October 2023
Pope Francis

Today Pope Francis is holding a second day of prayer, fasting and penance for world peace, as the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continues to escalate.

In a statement the Pope described it as “a day of penance to which I invite sisters and brothers of the various Christian denominations, those belonging to other religions, and all those who have at heart the cause of peace in the world, to join in as they see fit.”

A prayer vigil will take place at 6 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square, involving an hour of prayer in pray for peace in our world.

He asked “all the particular Churches to participate by arranging similar activities involving the people of God.”

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Five ways to pray for peace

As we witness the escalating violence in the Middle East, Pope Francis has invited us to come together for a day dedicated to prayer for peace and reconciliation in the world.

Cardinal Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem published a letter to his diocese following two weeks of violence and conflict, stating the 27th would be a “a day that we will celebrate with conviction”

In his letter he wrote of the horrors of the previous 2 weeks:

“We are going through one of the most difficult and painful periods in our recent times and history. For over two weeks now, we have been inundated with images of horrors, which have reawakened ancient traumas, opened new wounds, and made pain, frustration and anger explode within all of us. Much seems to speak of death and endless hatred. So many ‘whys’ overlap in our minds, adding to our sense of bewilderment.”

He continued “It takes courage to be able to demand justice without spreading hatred. It takes courage to ask for mercy, to reject oppression, to promote equality without demanding uniformity, while remaining free. It takes courage today, even in our diocese and our communities, to maintain unity, to feel united to one another, even in the diversity of our opinions, sensitivities and visions.”

“I pray for us all, and in particular for the small community of Gaza, which is suffering most of all. In particular, our thoughts go out to the 18 brothers and sisters who perished recently, and to their families whom we know personally. Their pain is great, and yet with every passing day, I realise that they are at peace. They are scared, shaken, upset, but with peace in their hearts. We are all with them, in prayer and concrete solidarity, thanking them for their beautiful witness.”

How can I respond to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis?