Friday, July 18, 2014

Pope Francis Phones President Abbas and Peres for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Vatican City, 18 July 2014 (VIS) – Following last Sunday’s heartfelt appeal for continued prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this morning the Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to share his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.
As during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land and on the occasion of the invocation for peace on 8 June, the Holy Father assured them of his ceaseless prayer, and that of all the Church, for peace in the Holy Land. He reminded the presidents, whom he considers to be men of peace and seekers of peace, of the need to continue to pray and endeavour to ensure that all the interested parties and those who hold political office at local and international level work to bring an end to hostilities, making efforts to promote truce, peace and reconciliation in the hearts of those involved.

ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Israeli army enters Gaza. Pope's message to the local Catholic community

Gaza (Agenzia Fides) - The Israeli army's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, concentrated in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, was accompanied by intensified air and naval raids also on Gaza City throughout the night. The small Catholic parish in Gaza, dedicated to the Holy Family, is employed in the humanitarian emergency triggered by the military intervention. Pastor Jorge Hernandez, Argentine missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has welcomed numerous family groups in the school premises who have fled from their homes situated in the bombed areas, and since this morning is engaged in the search for water and food for the displaced.
"I spoke with the families of the parish" refers to Fides Agency Sister Laudis, a religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, currently in Beit Jala after leaving the Gaza Strip, "everyone told me that they did not slept a wink all night because of the bombing. The houses were shaking, the children were crying".
In this dramatic situation, Pope Francis sent a short message to the parish priest and the small Catholic community in Gaza to show his closeness. "I am close to you, to the nuns and the entire Catholic community. I accompany you with my prayers and my closeness. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin protect you", reads the brief text, published on the website of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. "Yesterday evening", says Sister Laudis to Fides "father Jorge translated the text in Arabic to make it known to all families. Everybody was touched by the message". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/07/2014)

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