Can Catholics do more than pray for peace in the Holy Land?

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Since Saturday October 7, Israel and the Gaza Strip have been at the heart of a new deadly conflagration. Faced with this surge of violence, Catholics are called to pray tirelessly for peace. But not only.

To the spiral of war, death and violence, can we oppose that of peace, life and prayer? The Hamas offensive on Saturday October 7 against Israel opened a new bloody chapter in the latent conflict between Israel and Palestine. While the human toll increases by the hour on both sides, the coming days look particularly dark. In the voice of Pope Francis who calledfrom Sunday peace was united by those of many bishops, priests and cardinals. This Tuesday, October 10, the leaders of the main religions in France in turn expressed their “terror” after the Hamas attack against Israel, in a press release in which they called for “appeasement” and to “firmly reject all anti-Semitism” and “all racism”. Calling for prayer “for the Israeli people and for the Palestinian people who find themselves today caught in a logic of war”, they also invite “the political leaders of our country to work for concerted action by the international community”.

All over the world, prayers are raised to Heaven to implore peace: intention during universal prayer, Eucharistic adoration, prayer chains, recitation of the rosary… The faithful are multiplying initiatives for this martyred area. The diocese of Rome has therefore invited all the faithful to gather this Tuesday at 9 p.m. to pray the rosary around the Salus Populi Romani icon in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Because yes, the Catholic Church is used to praying for peace. “Peace is not so much a question of structures as of people,”  John Paul II rightly recalled  in 2003 in  his message for World Peace Day.. “Peace structures and procedures are only the fruit of wisdom and experience accumulated throughout history through countless gestures of peace, carried out by men and women who knew how to maintain hope without ever give in to discouragement. Gestures of peace arise from the lives of people who nourish within themselves constant attitudes of peace. They are fruits of the minds and hearts of peacemakers. »

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But is prayer enough? Besides, pray for peace, certainly, but for what? Without falling into an anxiety-provoking over-consumption of information concerning the minute-by-minute evolution of the situation in Israel, being informed appears to be a necessity in order to understand what is happening there, in this Holy Land which saw the birth and death of the Savior . of humanity and who finds himself once again martyred. Find out about events, without voyeurism or naivety. But also find out about the consequences for the Christians who live there and whose presence is essential to find a lasting solution in the Holy Land.

Christians whose future is dotted. “The cycle of violence that has killed many Palestinians and Israelis in recent months exploded this morning,” responded Cardinal Pizzaballa. “We call on the international community and religious leaders to do everything to help de-escalate, restore calm and work to guarantee the fundamental rights of the people of the region. » Now the pastors of Christian communities, and in particular the Franciscan brothers of the Custody of the Holy Land, are witnesses to the message of dialogue and universal fraternity announced by Saint Francis of Assisi. This Christian presence, vacillating and threatened, must not disappear. Working for peace therefore also means contributing to the maintenance of Christian communities in the Holy Land and in the Gaza Strip. L’Œuvre d’Orient, Aid to the Church in Need (AED)… several associations have been involved with Christian communities for many years. Supporting them is also a way of acting for the Holy Land.

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