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- Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, president of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, announced for the first time a Day of Prayer for Peace for the East. This year it will take place on Sunday, June 27th
- The Prayer for Peace for the Middle East will include an annual Holy Mass celebration. Patriarch Pizzaballa will celebrate it in Nazareth at 10:00 am. The Council of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in the Middle East, and thus all the patriarchs and bishops, are invited to participate in mass celebrations in their own countries at the same time , including Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and Syria.
- The seven Catholic Churches in the Middle East are the Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Latin, Maronite, Melkite, and Syrian churches.
- The heart of this initiative will be the Act of Consecration of the Eastto the Holy Family, invoking protection, peace, andreconciliation
- An iconof the Holy Family from Nazareth, that will be during the Holy Mass in Nazareth, is going on a pilgrimage through different countries in the Middle East until its arrival to Rome toward the end of the year of St. Joseph, on December 8, 2021. From Rome, the Icon will travel back to the Holy Land where it will remain.
- In the Year of the Hl. Joseph and Hl. Family, Jesus, Joseph and Mary show compassion and share the fate of the many persecuted and exiled for religious, political and economic reasons. Many families have been torn apart by war and uprooted from their homes. They do not believe they still have any future in their own home country. Many Christian families in the Middle East are leaving their country. It is a powerful signal that the bishops are sending on this Day of Peace in consecrating the Middle East to the Holy Family, who themselves were acquainted with the experience of flight, poverty and persecution.
- The purpose of the pilgrimage is to unite people together on the way. Only if we gather around this Holy Family of Nazareth, we can then act as a family, in justice and peace. The whole region is bleeding from many wounds. The ongoing war, the fanatical Islamist groups who have declared Christians as the “enemy” to be exterminated, horrific events such as the explosion of Beirut, along with the economic mismanagement, corruption and totalitarian regimes and political instability have created terrible wounds that are causing the Christian community to flee the region.
- In the Christian tradition of the East, an Icon is not just a sign, an image, a symbol. It is much more: it is true Presence. In this way, this Icon will be the presence of the Holy Family traveling through the Middle East, like during the flight into Egypt.
- Joseph and Mary show us the Way: Jesus, the Prince of peace. The more people become pilgrims moving towards Him, the less there will be exiles and people distancing from each other.
- Even if you can’t travel, you can always participate in this pilgrimage – through common prayer . Moving our feet matters a lot, but it is the movement of your soul to God and his Family that should come first and matters the most.
Icon of the Holy Family inlaid with relics that will be blessed and will go in a pilgrimage, starting from Lebanon, to the countries of the East, until its arrival to Rome.