Pope Francis has issued an appeal to apostolic nuncios and leaders of episcopal conferences around the globe, asking them to mobilize local Churches to pray this weekend for peace in the Holy Land.
The Israeli and Palestinian presidents will gather with Francis on Sunday to pray for peace, answering the invitation the Pope extended while he was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land.
Cardinal Seán Brady, as President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, received the urgent message from His Holiness Pope Francis requesting that all bishops, priests, men and women religious and all laypeople in Ireland be invited to participate this weekend in heartfelt prayer to unite in support of peace in the Holy Land. Pope Francis has issued this request to Apostolic Nuncios around the world asking that they invite their local Church to participate in a similar spiritual initiative.
Cardinal Brady said, “When Pope Francis was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land last month he invited President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to come to his home so that, with him and together, they might beseech God for the gift of peace. This important moment will take place this Sunday 8 June, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, at the Tomb of Saint Peter in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. This prayerful gathering will also involve the participation of His Holiness Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople.”
Cardinal Brady continued, “I encourage the faithful of Ireland, and all people of goodwill, to support this request from Pope Francis, trusting that the Lord’s promise may be fulfilled: ‘I say to you, if two or three of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven’ (Mt 18:19).”
From Canada, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said this: “Together with the Holy Father and all my brother Bishops, I urge Catholics and everyone of goodwill to join in prayer for the meeting at the Vatican this June 8 of His Holiness Pope Francis, His Excellency President Shimon Peres, and His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, together with His Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
“For most Christians, this is the day of Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of chaos, bringing the universe into being, and continues to inspire prophets and leaders. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary became the Mother of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Transformed by the fire and the wind of the Spirit, the disciples of Christ become the community of faith and forgiveness. May the Holy Spirit encourage and strengthen this meeting at the Vatican and all efforts in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East for peace and justice, healing and reconciliation. May this day be an important moment for each of us as children of our heavenly Father and for all our world in experiencing and deepening God’s gift of peace.