The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, has called on all Catholics and people of faith to observe a day of fasting and prayer for peace in the Holy Land. Cardinal Pizzaballa made his request in an open letter on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, released in English, Arabic, French, and Italian in the hopes that it will draw in participation from around the globe.
Cardinal Pizzaballa opened his request with a passage from the scriptures: “Since he is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14, 33). He then prayed that the Lord may “indeed give us peace,” before lamenting that conflict has once again descended on the people of Jerusalem, bringing with it “pain and dismay”:
“We have suddenly been catapulted into a sea of unprecedented violence,” Cardinal Pizzaballa wrote. “The hatred, which we have unfortunately already been experiencing for too long, will increase even more, and the ensuing spiral of violence will create more destruction. Everything seems to speak of death.”
While he described the conflict between the nation of Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas as “a time of sorrow and dismay,” he noted that the faithful are not helpless as long as there is prayer. Returning to Corinthians, he cautioned lest “death and its sting (1 Cor 15:55) be the only word we hear.”
It is to this end that he is calling on all parishes and religious communities to participate in a day of prayer on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Cardinal Pizzaballa encouraged all Catholics to pray on pray and fast for peace and reconciliation, as well as for the souls of those who have lost their lives in the conflict.
The Latin Patriarch asked Catholics to organize times in which they could pray in community with one another, especially if these groups can pray in adoration before the Holy Eucharist. He also encouraged groups to pray the Holy Rosary for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The letter noted that communities of the dioceses within Jerusalem will most likely not be able to organize large gatherings, but his flock will come together in small groups for “simple and sober common moments of prayer in parishes, religious communities, and families.”
“This is the way we all come together despite everything, and unite collectively in prayer, to deliver to God the Father our thirst for peace, justice, and reconciliation.” Cardinal Pizzaballa concluded.