Franciscans in Nazareth Join in Entrustment to Mary

Courage Needed for Peace, Says Custodian of Basilica

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NAZARETH, Israel, MARCH 26, 2004 ( The custodian of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth says his community joined John Paul II when he entrusted to Mary a world beset by violence.

Franciscan Father Samir Sarouz said “to hear the Pope’s voice from here, especially in these very difficult days, enables us to hope. We unite ourselves to the Holy Father’s prayer for peace, which has lost the road in the land of the Gospel, in the land of Jesus, in the land of Mary.”

John Paul II prayed through Mary’s intercession at Wednesday’s general audience, in St. Peter’s Square, on the eve of the solemnity of the Annunciation.

“Much courage is needed to dare to opt for peace and dialogue,” the Franciscan friar said on Vatican Radio. “This is lacking especially here, in the Holy Land. It is lacking between these two peoples who confront one another in different ways with so much violence.”

The Franciscan also commented on the news of the 14-year-old Palestinian youth who was detained by the Israeli army when he realized he had been used as a potential suicide bomber. Explosives he was carrying on his body were set to go off at a control post in Hawara, south of Naplusa, in the West Bank.

“This child is not to blame; it is surely not this boy’s fault,” the Franciscan said. “All this helps us understand, however, how his psychology has been violated, how his very thinking has been interfered with.”

“This is sad, as it seems that life has no value. All this is repeated, unfortunately, … in every attack, on both sides,” he said. “This is the atmosphere in which we live here, in the Holy Land.”

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