Believers worldwide pray for peace

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/09/2014 - 02:10

Catholics, other Christians and other believer are joining Pope Francis and the Presidents of Israel and Palestine this evening in praying for peace in the Holy Land, asking God’s assistance where human efforts have failed over 66 years to bring a lasting peace there.

Pope Francis, at midday June 8, recalled this when he told tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, including some waving Palestinian flags, that this evening he will be joined by the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, together with the Patriarch Bartholomew 1, to pray “for peace in the Holy Land, in the Middle East and in the whole world”.

Speaking from the papal study window at midday on Pentecost Sunday, June 8, Francis made reference to his worldwide prayer effort of many Christians and other believers who are praying “personally or in community” for this peace-initiative. He thanked them for this and urged them to continue.

Earlier, at mass in St Peter’s Basilica he reminded believers how when the Holy Spirit came on the first community of believers – it was the birth of the Church; the Apostles lost their fear and began to speak out in a courageous way, surprising everyone. Likewise today, he said the Church is called to surprise the world, Indeed, he said, “the Church is one that surprises us and stirs things up.” Though he did not say so, this is certainly true of his prayer-for peace initiative
He convened this prayer gathering in the Vatican Gardens to invoke God to open the door to peace between Israelis and Palestinians after many human efforts failed, including the most recent effort by the US Administration. And he has sought to involve the whole Church and other believers in this prayer, convinced as he is that “prayer can move mountains” and can change the minds of peoples and their leaders.

With this conviction, Pope Francis in recent days sent a letter, signed by him, to all nuncios in different countries on all continents asking them to request the Presidents of their respective Bishops Conferences to join in prayer for this peace initiative. The response has been immediate across the globe.

The bells of all the Churches in the Holy Land will ring out as the hour of prayer-for-peace begins in the Vatican Gardens at seven o’clock in the evening (Rome time). The Bishops of the Holy Land have invited their faithful in their homes and churches to join in this prayer, and invited “all people of goodwill to stop and pray in silence for two minutes as this prayer begins in the Vatican”.

In the UK, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of Bishops Conference, asked every parish in England and Wales to join the Pope in praying for peace in the Holy Land, and to join in the prayer event in the Vatican Gardens on June 8 with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine.

Cardinal Nichols also invited the Palestinian and Israeli Ambassadors to join him at his residence in London on Friday, June 6, and there the three of them spent some time together in prayer for peace. “They came in solidarity with the invitation of the Pope to their Presidents and to unite their prayers with those to be offered in Rome on Sunday”, Nichols stated. As they prayed, a chorister from the Westminster Cathedral choir sang 'The Lord's my Shepherd'. It was a most beautiful and prayerful moment.

The churches of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are joining in this prayer for peace in the Holy Land, at the request of the Pope. Cardinal Seán Brady, President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, at Pope Francis’ request, invited all bishops, priests, men and women religious and laypeople in this green island to participate this weekend in heartfelt prayer. He urged them to do so trusting in 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’.”

In Hong Kong (China), Cardinal John Tong Hon also asked Catholics in his diocese and elsewhere, as well as all people of good-will to join Pope Francis and the two Presidents in this heartfelt prayer for peace in the Holy Land.

The churches in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei are also joining in this prayer, after receiving the Pope’s request through the Nuncio in Kuala Lumpur. So too are the churches in Timor.

The US Bishops conference has issued a special prayer for peace on this day, “asking that the Holy Spirit guides Pope Francis and Israeli and Palestinian leaders as they gather in Rome to pray. May their shared prayers lead to a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land”.

In South Africa, Cardinal Napier Fox, issued a similar call to Catholics in South Africa, inviting them to participate in this worldwide prayer for peace in the land where Jesus was born, lived, died and rose from the dead. “Let's prepare to join Pope Francis as he brings the Palestine and Israel presidents together to pray for peace. Prayer and fasting are in order”, he said.
In Italy, the Bishops conference has asked that prayers be raised in all churches across the country for peace in the Holy Land. Catholic associations and movements are joining in this prayer. The Muslim community in Italy is also praying for the same intention.

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