Palestinian, Israeli Presidents Join Francis to Pray for Peace

Service Held in Vatican Gardens

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Tonight the Israeli and Palestinian presidents joined Pope Francis to pray for peace in the Holy Land.

At around 7 p.m. the event began with a prayer (creation) in Hebrew, a brief musical interlude, a prayer invoking forgiveness, another musical interlude, a prayer invoking peace, and finally, a Jewish musical meditation.

The Christian part followed the same structure, but the first prayer in English, the second in Italian, and the third in Arabic. Finally the Muslim part of the celebration proceeded as above, in Arabic.

Here below are the prayers for this evening’s Invocation for Peace with Israeli and Palestinian Presidents, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas.


Vatican Gardens, 8 June 2014


Musical meditation.


May the Lord give you peace!

We have gathered here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, so that each of us can offer his or her own that each of us can express his or her desire for peace for the Holy Land and for all who dwell there.

Together with Pope Francis, who greatly desired this moment, Patriarch Bartholomaios of Constantinople and all those present, Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas will join in this calling, voicing the desire of their respective peoples to invoke to God the common longing for peace.

This evening’s meeting will consist of three parts, followed by a conclusion.

Each part will be devoted to an invocation by one of the three religious communities, in chronological order: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Each part will itself unfold in three moments. The first moment will consist of an expression of praise to God for his gift of creation, and for his having created us as members of the human family.

In the second moment, we will ask pardon from God for the times we have failed to act as brothers and sisters, and for our sins against him and against our fellow men and women.

In the third moment, we will ask God to grant the gift of peace to the Holy Land and to enable us to be peacemakers.

Each of these three moments will be framed by a brief musical interlude. A musical meditation will conclude each of the three main parts.



(in Hebrew)

Psalm 8

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O LORD, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babes and infants

you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,

to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,

and crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under their feet,

all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 147

Praise the LORD!

How good it is to sing praises to our God;

for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.

The LORD builds up Jerusalem;

he gathers the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted,

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars;

he gives to all of them their names.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

his understanding is beyond measure.

The LORD lifts up the downtrodden;

he casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;

make melody to our God on the lyre.

He covers the heavens with clouds,

prepares rain for the earth,

makes grass grow on the hills.

He gives to the animals their food,

and to the young ravens when they cry.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;

but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,

in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!

Praise your God, O Zion!

For he strengthens the bars of your gates;

he blesses your children within you.

He grants peace within your borders;

he fills you with the finest of wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth;

his word runs swiftly.

He gives snow like wool;

he scatters frost like ashes.

He hurls down hail like crumbs—

who can stand before his cold?

He sends out his word, and melts them;

he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.

He declares his word to Jacob,

his statutes and ordinances to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any other nation;

they do not know his ordinances.

Praise the LORD!

Brief musical interlude.

(in Hebrew)

Psalm 25

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust;

do not let me be put to shame;

do not let my enemies exult over me.

Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD,

and of your steadfast love,

for they have been from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

according to your steadfast love remember me,

for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!

Good and upright is the LORD;

therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in what is right,

and teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,

for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

For your name’s sake, O LORD,

pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Who are they that fear the LORD?

He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,

and their children shall possess the land.

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,

and he makes his covenant known to them.

My eyes are ever toward the LORD,

for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted.

Relieve the troubles of my heart,

and bring me out of my distress.

Consider my affliction and my trouble,

and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,

and with what violent hatred they hate me.

O guard my life, and deliver me;

do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

May integrity and uprightness preserve me,

for I wait for you.

Redeem Israel, O God,

out of all its troubles.

Psalm 130

A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.

Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive

to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,

Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you,

so that you may be revered.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,

and in his word I hope;

my soul waits for the LORD

more than those who watch for the morning,

more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD!

For with the LORD the
re is steadfast love,

and with him is great power to redeem.

It is he who will redeem Israel

from all its iniquities.

Prayer from the Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement) service

Your servant David said before you: «Who may discern errors? Cleanse me from hidden faults». Cleanse us, O Lord our God from all our transgressions, purify us from our impurity and cast pure water on us and purify us, as is written by Your prophets: «I will cast clean water upon you, and you shall be cleansed from all your impurities and from all your contamination I will purify you». And it is said: «Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, «Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer up the fruit of our lips.» You are merciful, accepting those who turn back to You, and with regard to repentance You promised from the beginning , and with regard to repentance, our eyes look hopefully to You. And out of Your love or us, O Lord our God, who loved Israel Your people in Your mercy, and in Your compassion with which, You had compassion on the children of Your covenant, You granted us forgiveness of sin and the pardon of transgression and the atonement of iniquity.

Brief musical interlude.

(in Hebrew)

Prayer of Nahman of Breslav

Lord of Peace,

Divine Ruler, to whom peace belongs!

Maker of Peace,

Creator of all things!

May it be Your will to put an end to war

and bloodshed in the world,

and to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world,

so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war anymore.

Help us and save us all,

Let us merit to cling tightly to the virtue of peace.

Let there be a truly great peace

between every person and his fellow,

and between husband and wife,

and let there be no division among people not even in the heart.

Let every person love peace and pursue peace

Always in truth and integrity

Let us never cling to division

Not even when it comes to those who do not agree with us.

Let us never shame any person on earth,

great or small

And may we merit to truly keep the commandment

to «love your neighbor as yourself,»

with an entire heart, body, soul and possessions.

And let what is written be fulfilled in us:

«I will grant peace in the land,

and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid;

I will remove dangerous animals from the land,

and no sword shall go through your land.»

God who is peace, bless us with peace!

Prayer for Peace from the Daily Service

Grant peace,

goodness, blessing, grace, lovingkindness, and mercy;

on us and all your people Israel and on the world.

Bless us all as one by the light

of Your countenance our Father.

For by the light of Your countenance,

You have given us O Lord our God,

a Torah of Life, loving kindness,

and righteousness and blessing

and mercy and life and peace.

May it be Your will to bless us all with Your Peace.

Jewish musical meditation.




Psalm 8

A reading from the Book of Isaiah 65:17-25

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord–and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent– its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Pause in silence.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father,

we gather here together,

we, your children, Jews, Christians and Muslims,

all recognizing you as our Creator.

We come to give you thanks

for the beauty and wonder of Your creation.

It is You, Creator God, Father of us all,

who has placed us in the Holy Land,

especially blessed among all the lands

because there the history of our salvation has unfolded.

May our shared thanksgiving for all Your blessings remind us

that we are brothers and sisters,

beloved of One God our Father,

through Christ our Lord.


Brief musical interlude.

(in Italian)

A reading from the prayer of Saint John Paul II

Let us turn with trust to God our Father,

who is merciful and compassionate,

slow to anger, great in love and fidelity,

and ask him to accept the repentance of his people

who humbly confess their sins,

and to grant them mercy.

Let us pray that contemplating Jesus,

our Lord and our Peace,

Christians will be able to repent

of the words and attitudes

caused by pride, by hatred,

by the desire to dominate others,

by enmity towards members of other religions

and towards the weakest groups in society,

such as immigrants and itinerants.

Let us pray for all those who have suffered offences

against their human dignity

and whose rights have been trampled.

Pause in silence.

Most merciful Father,

your Son, Jesus Christ, the judge of the living and the dead,

in the humility of his first coming

redeemed humanity from sin

and in his glorious return he will demand

an account of every sin.

Grant that our forebears, our brothers and sisters,

and we, your servants, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit

turn back to you in whole-hearted repentance,

may experience your mercy and receive

the forgiveness of our sins.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Pause in silence.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father,

give us the grace to come before you in humility

and beg your forgiveness for our offenses

against You and our brothers and sisters.

We have not been custodians of Your creation

and especially in Your Holy Land we have waged wars,

engaged in violence,

taught contempt for our brothers and sisters

and thus deeply offended You, Father of us all.

Give us the grace to recommit ourselves to «do justice,

and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God» (Micah 6:8)

through Christ our Lord.


Brief musical interlude.

(in Arabic)

A reading from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is discord, harmony;

Where there is error, truth;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, l

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Pause in silence.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father,

gathered here together we ask You

to make us instruments of Your peace,

seeking justice, agents of pardon

and builders of reconciliation.

Open our hearts to be filled with Your spirit,

open our eyes to see Your image in everyone we meet,

open our hands to join with those of our brother and sisters

to build together a world in which all can live in peace.

Pour down your blessing on the Holy Land,

so that from there this peace

can spread to the ends of the earth,

in the name of Christ our Lord.


Christian musical meditation.



(in Arabic)

Praise be to God, who created the heavens and the earth, made darkness and light, brought everything out of nothing, created us as the best part of creation, formed us in the best of forms, bestowing on us hearing, sight, intelligence, and heart. Blessed be God, best of creators.

Oh God, to you all praise, O Lord, to you all praise, O Creator of the heavens and the earth, O You who know the unknown and the manifest, O Lord of everything and its sovereign, we testify that there is no god but You alone and You have no partner, we seek refuge in You from the evil in ourselves and the evil of Satan, his partners, his godlessness and his whispering, and we seek refuge in You from godlessness and want, and we seek refuge in You so that we do not bring evil upon ourselves or bring it upon anyone else.

O God, to You all praise, much praise, good and blessed, we praise You for all the grace bestowed upon us, seen and unseen, in religion or in the world, for Your graces cannot be counted or calculated, and we ask You, our Lord, that they last forever, be preserved and blessed, and that they might help us to remember You, thank You and worship You better, until we worship You, remember You and thank You as You desire, and to You all praise, O Lord, as befits the splendor of Your face and the greatness of Your power.

O God, You are all able and we are unable, You possess all and we have nothing, You know all and we know nothing, You know hidden things, we praise You, we thank You for all that You have showered upon us and all You have done so well for us in religion and in this world, to You praise, our Lord, in first things and in the hereafter, to You praise in good times and bad, to You praise until You are gratified and to You praise when You are satisfied, to You praise after satisfaction, there is no power and no strength but in You.

Brief musical interlude.

(in Arabic)

O God, our Lord and our God there is no god but You, You created us and we are Your servants, and we are committed to You as best we can, we take our refuge in You from the evil we have done, we return to You by the grace You bestow on us, and we return from our transgressions and our sins, forgive us, for there is no one who forgives sins except You.

O God, our Lord, God whose name is sanctified in the heavens, Your command is in the heavens and on earth, as Your mercy is in the heavens, so let Your mercy be manifest on earth, forgive us our transgressions and our sins, You are the Lord of those who are good, pour down upon us Your mercy, Your pardon, Your goodness and Your healing, Most Merciful of the merciful.

O God, inspire us to tell the truth, to do good, to instruct in virtue, to put an end to what is forbidden, seeking Your generous face, O Master of splendor and honor, so that we do only good for the good of all, all people, removing injustice from the oppressed, so that we may receive Your mercy which encompasses all things, and help us, O Lord, to do right with what is right, in matters of justice and charity, and put an end to indecency, all that is forbidden, evil, injustice and aggression.

O God, we seek refuge in You from going astray or being led astray, from slipping or causing others to slip, from doing wrong or suffering wrong, from committing aggression or having aggression committed against us, forgive us for whatever sins we have committed in all of this, O Most Merciful of the merciful, for our hope is in Your mercy, and we fear Your retribution, do not put us among the unjust violent ones, O Lord of the worlds, help us to come to the assistance of the unjustly oppressed, so that we are granted in this Your mercy, Your pardon and Your satisfaction.

Brief musical interlude.

(in Arabic)

Praise to God, merciful, compassionate, king, holy, peace, faith, sovereign, precious, mighty, proud, creator, maker, former.

O God, You are peace, and peace is from You, and to You peace returns, You are blessed and You are glorified, O Master of splendor and honor, inspire us, O Lord, with peace and reveal to us peace and make us dwellers in the realm of peace, among those who do not live in fear or sorrow.

O God, we seek refuge in You from injustice and oppression, from illegitimate aggression, and we ask You, our Lord, to make us rightly guided, not going astray nor leading astray, believing in You and trusting in You, guide us, O Lord, to the most preferred of words, guide us, O Lord, to the most perfect of acts, guide us, O Lord, to the best of morals, for no one can guide to this except You, and You are able to do all things.

O God, make us, O Lord, keys to all that is good, locks to all that is evil, we ask of You what is good and proper, that You provide us with safety, peace, security and faith, for us and for our peoples, our families, our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters, and for all humanity and all nations, and all creatures in Your great creation, give us, O Lord, in this world good, and in the Hereafter good, and protect us from the torment of the fire.

O God, bring about peace in the land of peace, O Master of splendor and honor, and remove injustice against the oppressed in this land, feed its people who hunger, and secure them against fear, and keep them from evil and evil doers, from unjust aggressors, O Lord of the Worlds.

Muslim musical meditation.



Let us now listen to the words of Pope Francis, followed by those of the two Presidents, each calling for peace for peace.

The two Presidents and the Holy Father will conclude by shaking hands and by planting a small olive tree together as an enduring symbol of the mutual desire for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Invocation of the Holy Father Francis

Invocation of President Peres

Invocation of President Mahmoud Abbas

Sign of Peace

[00948-02.01] [Original text: English]
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