Holy Land — A Call to Prayer

Catholic charity ACN International responds to the Pope’s prayer appeal for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

Statement by Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President of ACN International:

“We are shocked by the news from the Holy Land. Once again, in this so holy place, hatred and darkness have erupted. Jerusalem, a city that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is once more filled with violence and mourning. So much blood has been spilt, so many hopes buried, so many lives shattered. The coming hours and days will show whether a ceasefire will hold.

Greek Orthodox icon of Our Lady of Holy Land, handmade and hand painted by an expert Greek hagiographer using traditional materials and old techniques. The Feast of Our Lady of Palestine was established in 1927 by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Luigi Barlassina. His purpose was to ask Our Lady for her protection of Palestine and the Holy City of Jerusalem. This feast day was approved by the Holy See in 1933 and is celebrated every October 25.

Especially now, at Pentecost, we cry out: Come, Holy Spirit! We call on all our benefactors to respond to the appeal of our Holy Father Pope Francis, and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and to pray during this festive season [Pentacost] for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide all decision makers, in Israel and the Palestinian Territories and throughout the world, and help them find a way to overcome the division and hatred.

Christian boy looking through the grating in the shape of a cross

The Holy Spirit is the ‘Paraclete’ promised by Christ: The Comforter and Advocate. Let us pray to him for the consolation of all those in the Holy Land who have lost a loved one. May the Holy Spirit comfort and sustain all the people of this land. ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!’ (Psalm 122:6–7)

Child hand holding a lighted candle. Photo taken in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

An Invitation to Pray

Lord God of peace, hear our prayer!

We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms.

How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried…

But our efforts have been in vain. Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: ‘Never again war!’; ‘With war everything is lost.’

Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace. Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister.

Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarrelling into forgiveness.

Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation.

In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words ‘division,’ ‘hatred’ and ‘war’ be banished from the heart of every man and woman.

Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be ‘Brother,’ and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam! Amen.

* Featured image: The Dome of the Rock located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
One of Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmarks and one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture. Also one of the most important Muslim shrines. The Mount of Olives with Jewish Cemetery in the background.

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