CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Day of prayer for Middle East


LEEDS (SE) : December 4 has been set as a day of prayer for peace in the Middle East by the bishops of England and Wales.

Vatican Radio reported that the bishops made the decision at a meeting held in Leeds on November 15. They said, “Conscious of the civil war in Syria and its impact on neighbouring countries, as well as the continuing conflict in the Holy Land, they are calling on all people to pray for peace in the region on December 4, the feast of St. John Damascene.”

St. John lived in Damascus, Syria, in the seventh century. Although he stuck strongly to his Christian faith in the Arab state, he still maintained the respect of the general community as an eminent scholar and was a public official.

The bishops believe that his feast day is an appropriate day to set aside for special prayer for peace in that part of the world today.

Meanwhile, on November 21 Pope Benedict XVI called for new initiatives in the attempt to reach a truce in the fighting between Israel and Palestine, urging, “The authorities of both parties to take courageous decisions in favour of peace and put an end to a conflict with negative repercussions throughout the entire Middle East region, which is troubled by too many conflicts and is in need of peace and reconciliation.”

“I appeal to the authorities on both sides to take courageous decisions in favour of peace and bring an end to a conflict with negative repercussions on the entire Middle East, which is already tormented by too many conflicts and so in need of peace and reconciliation,” the pope said.

Israel has carried out more than 1,500 strikes since the offensive began. Medical officials in Gaza say 139 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including 34 children, had died as of November 22.

Nearly 1,400 rockets have been fired into Israel, killing four civilians and a soldier, according to reports issued by the Israeli military.


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