Pope Francis, President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas to Pray for Peace on Sunday June 8, 2014.
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On May 29, 2014, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Press Office of the Holy See, confirmed that the meeting to pray for peace -- to which Pope Francis invited both the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas during his Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land - will take place on Sunday June 8, 2014. This is an extraordinary and historic event. It calls for a response of solidarity from all Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will.
ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - On May 29, 2014, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Press Office of the Holy See, confirmed that the meeting to pray for peace -- to which Pope Francis invited both the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas during his Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land - will take place on Sunday June 8, 2014.
This is an extraordinary event. It has the potential to change history. It also calls for a response of solidarity from all Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will. Pope Francis issued the invitation after the celebration of Mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem, on the morning of Sunday May 25, 2014:
"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.
"I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer. In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.
All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. All of us - especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples - have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.
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."
On the way back to Rome, Francis was asked about the invitation 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.
Like his namesake, Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis is an instrument of peace. We need to join in this mission. This is not simply a nice gesture. This is a supernatural event with profound potential. Prayer can change history. Pope Francis is a man of prayer who knows this is true.
Remember what occurred as a result of his call for a day of global prayer on September 7, 2013? The world was invited to pray 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 also announced 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. He did, and the circumstances changed.
That is because God is real - and prayer is powerful.
While US warships were being 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 Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will, to deploy the weapons of peace, prayer and fasting.
This Pope understands - and believes in - the power of prayer.
He carries in his heart a burden for peace in the Middle East. He wants to unleash the Love of God, the most powerful weapon we have against the growing scourge of violence in the land where the Prince of Peace walked.
This is the Holy Land. The violence must come to an end.
The love of God is the only real lasting means to authentic peace. This is true as individuals, as families, as a Church, - and as Nation-states and a global community. In a world spiraling out of control, Christians are particularly called to become instruments of peace.
At the Last Supper, 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)
The path to peace passes through prayer - because peace requires Gods assistance.
I invite everyone reading this article to pray with Pope Francis, as he joins with President Mahmoud Abbas and President Shimon Peres on Sunday afternoon, June 8, 2014. We need the intervention of heaven to bring peace to the land where Jesus, the Prince of Peace, once walked. It is the land where he still walks and it is besieged with violence.
It is time to pray for an intervention from heaven; a miracle!
Let us join together in a circle of prayer around the whole globe, asking the Lord for an end to the violence and peace in the Holy Land.
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