Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you! (Psalm 122:6)

In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.-Pope Francis

Pope Francis, the Man of Peace

Pope Francis, the Man of Peace


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

5/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Pope Francis, President Mahmoud Abbas, President Shimon Peres, Jerusalem, Paalestinian authority, Israel, Peace of Jerusalem, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis is back in Rome. However, his presence in the Holy Land reverberates. One of the comments he made after he had presided at the Open Air Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem on the second day of the visit is sending out shock waves around the world:

In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.  I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.

Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.

Both leaders have accepted the invitation to visit with Francis in Rome for this time of prayer for peace. Many in the Media discount the possibilities of such an encounter. Still others see it as a nice, sentimental gesture. I don't share their assessment.

I see it as a prophetic act of a Christian being led by the Holy Spirit, a Pope who knows the power of God.

Francis knows the real power of real prayer. It is time for such prayer to begin to be raised from the faithful throughout the whole world.The kind of prayer that can change history.

On the way back to Rome, Francis was asked about the invitation he gave to the two world leaders by journalists on the plane. He responded:

The most authentic gestures are those that we don't think about, those that come to us, aren't they? I thought about suggesting it during the trip, but there were many logistical problems, because each one has to consider the territory, and it's not easy.

So I thought about a meeting, and at the end, I came up with this invitation. It will be an encounter to pray, not for the purposes of mediation. We will pray with the two presidents; prayer is important, it helps. Afterwards, each person will return home. There would be a rabbi, a Muslim, and myself.

I remember what occurred as a result of his call for a day of global prayer back on September 7, 2013. The whole world was invited to undertake the urgent task of praying for peace, in Syria, the extended Middle East, and around the world.

In a heartfelt cry the Pope used his Sunday Angelus address of September 1, 2013, to implore the parties engaged in the atrocities in Syria to cease, crying out with prophetic voice, "War begets war, violence begets violence."

He announced to the faithful that on Saturday, September 7, 2013, he would lead a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.

The horrors inflicted against the innocent in Syria had filled our media. Francis was well aware of the growing calls for a military response.

So, he invited us to employ the most powerful action a Christian can engage in, real prayer.

The circumstances surrounding the impending violence significantly changed.

While US warships had already been deployed to the Red Sea in the event of military action taken against Syria - and the US Congress prepared to debate authorizing the use of such force - the leader of over 1.2 billion Catholics asked Catholics and all other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will, to deploy the weapons of peace, prayer and fasting.

Now, he calls us all to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, by praying for peace in the Middle East. I am not naive. I am well aware of the history of continual violence, strife and war in the Holy Land. However, I also know the power of God. 

History records that a brutal dictator named Joseph Stalin once mockingly asked "How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?"

Well, the truth is there is no more powerful force in the universe than the power of God and His power is made manifest when His people pray!

So, once again, Francis is calling out the heavy artillery of real prayer. We need to respond to the call. 

This Pope carries in his heart a burden for peace in the Middle East. So does the Lord whom he serves with such simplicity and sincerity.

So should we.

The words of the Psalmist David invite our response in this hour - Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you! (Psalm 122:6)

Pope Francis hopes to unleash the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked- the the Love of God.

The love of God is the only source and means to authentic peace, in us as individuals, in our families, in the Church, in our Nation-states and in this global community to which we are joined. 

In a world which is spiraling out of control, we who bear the name Christian are particularly called to live the Love of God - and become instruments of true peace.

At the Last Supper, right before he walked the Way of the Cross for each one of us, Jesus spoke these words to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid". (John 14:27)

We need to hear these words in that place which the Bible calls the heart. The path to peace passes through prayer. His entire time with the disciples was an instruction in Prayer.

He showed them the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invited them - and he invites us - into the communion of love which He has with the Father, in the Spirit.

This is  an invitation into a whole new way of living, a life of continual communion with the living God.

We also need to hear these words of Jesus, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Mt. 5:9)

Are we sons and daughters of God? Do we believe that the path to peace passes through prayer? 

It is time to begin praying, RIGHT NOW, for the peace of Jerusalem. We need to pray for this visit in Rome to occur and bear fruit. We need to pray for the intervention of heaven in the land where Jesus walked - in the land where he still walks - because He is has been raised!

Let us take the words which Pope Francis spoke to President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres as our invitation to enter into a season of focused prayer for peace in the Middle East.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you! (Psalm 122:6)


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More U.S.

Budweiser makes first delivery with self-driving big rig Watch

Image of The first delivery via self-driving truck has been made in Colorado.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The first delivery by a self-driving truck has already been made, according to the Uber-owned firm, Otto and Budweiser. Budweiser used the truck to perform a full beer delivery from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - If you are a ... continue reading

Congress may pardon troops asked to repay enlistment bonuses Watch

Image of It is very likely soldiers from all other states could be affected too, which is why Congressional action is critical.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thousands of National Guard troops from California have been ordered to repay thousands in enlistment bonuses to the Pentagon. The Pentagon says the bonuses were awarded in error. However, troops say they did nothing wrong and the repayments are causing tremendous ... continue reading

'Undocumented Immigrant? Before You Get Deported, Get a Sugar Daddy' - Controversial sign shocks Austin residents Watch

Image of Just find a sugar daddy to earn legal status in the U.S?


An extremely controversial billboard has Austin, TX residents shocked, enraged and confused over the advertisement's multiple bad messages. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The billboard in question is situated along Interstate 35 and features a Hispanic woman, head ... continue reading

St. Anthony Chapel accepts 5,000 relics Watch

Image of St. Anthony's Chapel has accepted 5,000 relics (Roadside America).

By Adelaide Mena (CNA/EWTN News)

Nestled in a sleepy neighborhood in the hills rising over Pittsburgh lies a small chapel. Inside St. Anthony's Chapel lies a piece from the Crown of Thorns, a tooth of St. Anthony of Padua, and more than 5,000 other verified relics, or remains, of saints from around ... continue reading

RIGHT TO LIVE? - Insurance refuses cancer treatment, tells patient suicide drug is only $1.20 copay Watch

Image of Stephanie Packer and her family from her blog, 'Stephanie's Journey.'

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One Catholic woman in California has won the right to live a little longer after her insurance company refused to pay for her chemotherapy. Stephanie Packer, has an incurable form of cancer, but wanted more time with her family. She did not expect she would have to ... continue reading

St. John Paul II, Apostle of Divine Mercy: Divine Mercy and the Wound of Disbelief Watch

Image of St. John Paul II, an apostle of Divine Mercy

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. In 2013, it was also the day when St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, were canonized. St. John Paul II was deeply devoted to the Divine Mercy. He said it was the key to ... continue reading

Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading

Cardinal Dolan sits in 'the iciest place on the planet' as Clinton and Trump roast each other to cheers and boos - TRANSCRIPT Watch

Image of Cardinal Dolan described his seat as the iciest on the planet, but there were laughs and the event was a fundraising success.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cardinal Dolan had "the iciest place on the planet" during last night's "Alfred E. Smith's Memorial Foundation Dinner." The Cardinal was seated between Trump and Clinton who riffed on each other during the event. Some of Trump's jokes provoked boos instead of laughter. ... continue reading

A novena addressed to Mary has been released for the U.S. Watch

Image of The Blessed Virgin.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

With the Nov. 8 election approaching, the Knights of Columbus have released a novena addressed to Mary, the Immaculate Conception, who is the patroness of the United States. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - The novena consists of nine days of prayer, starting Oct. 30 ... continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: A Catholic Mother Speaks: An Open Letter to Vice-Presidential Candidate, Tim Kaine Watch

Image of Terry Beatley

By Terry Beatley

Mr. Kaine, for the sake of Christ's sorrowful passion, have you no mercy for God's precious children and the young mothers who are sold lies? In case your bishop and priest have failed to tell you, you are in mortal sin. I did not return "home" to the Catholic ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 5:21-33
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents] How blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk in his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:18-21
18 He went on to say, 'What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2016 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. ... Read More