Pray for the meeting to ask for peace with Pope Francis

Regarding the prayer initiated by Pope Francis with Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres that will take place in the Vatican on Sunday, the 8th of June 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (Jerusalem time).

After the press conference in Rome on Friday afternoon by Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s Press Bureau, and Father Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa, to whom the Holy Father entrusted the organization of this time of prayer, more is known about what will take place during this call for peace and its objective.

The presidents were invited by the pope “to his home” and each will be accompanied by a small delegation of just 15 to 20 people in order to maintain an ambiance of prayer and recollection, the Custos of the Holy Land explained. The delegations will be composed of representatives of the different religions present in each of the two countries. Thus, there will be Muslims, Christians and Druze with Israeli president and Muslims and Christians with the Palestinian president.

The Custos of the Holy Land further explained, “This is not an inter-religious prayer meeting. It is a call for peace that the Israelis and Palestinians are making before God.”

The prayer will take place in the Vatican gardens so that no particular religious sign is visible to bruise anyone’s sensibilities. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. Jerusalem time). Each of the three religions will pray in a different fashion, in chronological order (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) but within the same format.

Drawing from the sources of their holy books, the readings—all on the theme of peace—and prayers specially composed for the occasion within each tradition, will first praise God in his creation, recognizing that we were all created as his children and that we are, therefore, all brothers. Then they will ask for God’s forgiveness, conscious of our sin. Finally, they will call on God to make us capable of building peace.

The press conference was also an opportunity to give more details about the meaning of this gesture.

The Custos of the Holy Land explained, “It is a time of prayer, but above all an appeal to God for the gift of peace. […] It is a pause from politics. Politics have their own dynamic, but the Holy Father wanted to cast a longer look, a look above. This is also a pause for two political figures who, in casting a longer look, can also take a look from above at the reality of the Holy Land.”

“No one presumes to believe that after this event peace will come to the Holy Land. The intention is to make a strong gesture that can touch public opinion and give a new breath of life to dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.”

We do not forget that for Christians, this prayer is being held on the day of Pentecost, when God made all things new.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has written a letter suggesting that all Christians pray together for peace on the occasion of this meeting.

The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land propose:
– to pastors, to pray and ask for prayer for peace during Sunday Mass;
– to young people, to organize a prayer vigil for peace on Saturday night;
– to religious communities, to organize a moment of prayer for peace;
– to families, to light a lamp and display it in the main window of the home on Sunday evening;
– to Christians and all people of good will to respect two minutes of silence and prayer to the sound of church bells at 7:00 p.m. (i.e. turn off the television, stop cars, cease conversation…).

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