Catholics around the world prayed and fasted on Tuesday for peace in the Holy Land as Israel continues to respond to attacks by Hamas terrorists.
Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, not only invited believers to join with the Catholic Church in dedicating Tuesday to prayer and fasting but also declared Oct. 27 a a day of fasting, penance, and prayer for peace.
“Prayer is the meek and holy force to oppose the diabolical force of hatred, terrorism, and war,” the pope said.
Bishops across the United States similarly echoed the call for prayer, fasting, and abstinence (abstaining from meat) that was first called for by the Latin Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who made headlines this week for offering himself in exchange for the children captured by Hamas terrorists.
“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home,” Pizzaballa told journalists in Italy during a video conference on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported. “No problem. There is total willingness on my part.”
“The pain and dismay at what is happening is great,” the cardinal said in a letter requesting prayer and fasting for peace earlier this month. “Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of a political and military crisis. We have suddenly been catapulted into a sea of unprecedented violence.”
“The hatred, which we have unfortunately already been experiencing for too long, will increase even more, and the ensuing spiral of violence will create more destruction,” he added. “Everything seems to speak of death. Yet, in this time of sorrow and dismay, we do not want to remain helpless. We cannot let death and its sting (1 Cor 15:55) be the only word we hear.”
A variety of individual bishops issued statements calling on their dioceses to pray and fast, such as the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Bishop David Ricken strongly condemned the violent attacks against “vulnerable and innocent people” and echoed calls for the recitation of the Catholic prayer and the rosary and for attendance at Eucharistic Adoration in Catholic churches.
“I am particularly grieved that these acts of violence come against our elder brothers and sisters in the faith, the Jewish people,” he said. “Scripture is clear that the Lord chose to walk closely with the Jewish people, the Chosen People of Israel. Yet throughout history, they have repeatedly been the object of violence, attack, even genocide. This hatred for the Jewish people must come to an end.”
Philos Catholic, a branch of The Philos Project, a Christian organization that advocates “for pluralism in the Near East,” also led efforts to encourage prayer and fasting this week.
“In the face of such abhorrent evils—the kidnapping, torture, and murder of babies, families, the elderly— we are often left stunned into a horrified helplessness,” spokeswoman Margaret Fernandez shared with The Daily Signal. “How to protect the innocence, how to preserve life and freedom, how to begin approaching such a devastating laceration—these questions bring us back to the foot of the cross, where we bring our cries of lamentation and requests for divine aid.”
“Uniting our prayer and fasting with that of the universal church, we know we are not helpless, but on the contrary, can aid in infinite unseen ways, in the cause for peace and restoration,” she added.
Earlier this month, Vulnerable People Project founder Jason Jones also called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Oct. 13 that sought to unite all Abrahamic faiths.
Jones, whose organization protects “the vulnerable from violence and [promotes] respect for the intrinsic dignity of the human person regardless of ability, age, status, ethnicity, or sex,” told Fox News Digital that he was “inviting Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all people of good will to unite in prayer and spend one hour in contemplation and prayer on what it means to love God and our neighbor.”
“Today, there are mothers in Israel so consumed with grief at the loss of their children at the hands of terrorists that they cannot eat or sleep,” he said, adding, “Mothers in Gaza are overwhelmed with fear as their children cry in hunger. The children of soldiers deployed to Gaza pray for the safety of their fathers.”
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The post Catholics Around the World Pray, Fast for Peace in Holy Land appeared first on The Daily Signal.
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