Rome (Fides News Agency) - The Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East call on the sons and daughters of their Churches to "intensify prayers" to implore the Lord Jesus Christ to restore peace to the land where he himself was born. At the same time, they call on the major powers and the international community to work for an end to the war in the Holy Land by "implementing the international resolutions adopted by the United Nations" recognizing the peoples "right to self-determination".
The heads of five Eastern Catholic Churches present in the Middle East and North Africa, who have been in Rome since the beginning of October to take part in the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, met to share information, considerations and pastoral wishes regarding the moment their communities are going through in the context of the new war that has erupted in the Holy Land after the massacres carried out in Israel by militants of Hamas and other Islamist factions operating in the Gaza Strip. The Patriarchs' meeting took place Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the headquarters of the Pontifical Maronite College. The meeting was attended by Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Maronite Patriarch and Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, Chaldean Patriarch and Cardinal Luis Raphael Sako, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak and Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians.
The five heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches - according to a statement released after the meeting - echoed the words and appeals made by Pope Francis since the beginning of the new outbreak of violence in the Holy Land, expressing, like the Pope, their prayerful closeness to the families of the victims and to "all those who are living through hours of terror and pain." The patriarchs ask the members of their communities not to be deterred and to "intensify their prayers to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, through the intercession of His Mother, the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, so that peace may return to the land where He Himself was born." The Patriarchs also appeal to the "great powers" and the international community, calling on all to "work together to put an end to this destructive war and to establish the just and lasting peace that our peoples have long sought, by implementing the international resolutions adopted by the United Nations and recognizing the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination."
Meanwhile, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, on behalf of all the Catholic bishops of the Holy Land, has invited all parishes and religious communities to a day of fasting and prayer for peace and reconciliation. "We ask," Cardinal Pizzaballa wrote in the letter he signed as president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, "that on Tuesday, October 17, everyone observe a day of fasting, abstinence and prayer. There should be moments of prayer with Eucharistic adoration and recitation of the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin. Probably in many parts of our dioceses circumstances will not permit large gatherings. Nevertheless, in parishes, in religious communities, in families, it will be possible to organize simple times of common prayer". (GV) ( Fides News Agency 12/10/2023)