Mideast at Heart of Pope's Prayer This Month

Hoping for Intensified Peace Efforts

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II is praying this month of January “that all those working in the Middle East may intensify their efforts for peace.”

The general intention was announced by the Apostleship of Prayer, an intention the Pope makes his own, to offer his prayers and sacrifices together with thousands of faithful worldwide.

The Holy Father expressed his concern over the strife in Jesus’ homeland, in his message for the World Day of Peace, whose theme was “Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good.”

“I think immediately of the beloved continent of Africa, where conflicts which have already claimed millions of victims are still continuing,” the Pope wrote. “Or the dangerous situation of Palestine, the Land of Jesus, where the fabric of mutual understanding, torn by a conflict which is fed daily by acts of violence and reprisal, cannot yet be mended in justice and truth.”

He added: “To attain the good of peace there must be a clear and conscious acknowledgment that violence is an unacceptable evil and that it never solves problems.”

Every month, the Pope also offers his prayer for a missionary intention. In January he is praying “that in mission lands holy and generous apostles may be raised up, eager to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to everyone.”

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