At the end of the Wednesday general audience of this October 25, Pope Francis again turned his attention to the areas of conflict in the world, especially now in the Holy Land.
As he announced last week, this Friday will be a Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Penance for peace.
Today he said:
I think always of the grave situation in Palestine and Israel: I encourage the release of the hostages and the entry of humanitarian aid in Gaza. I continue to pray for those who suffer, and to hope for paths of peace in the Middle East, in beleaguered Ukraine, and in other regions afflicted by war.
I remind you all that the day after tomorrow, Friday 27 October, will be a day of fasting, prayer and penance: at 18.00, in Saint Peter’s Square, we will gather together to implore peace in the world.
Local initiatives around the world are multiplying in answer of the Pope’s call.
The cardinal patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, noted in his letter to his diocese on October 24:
“Perhaps the main thing we Christians can do at this time: pray, do penance, intercede.”
Today, October 25, is the feast of Our Lady of Palestine, the patroness of the diocese that covers the Holy Land.
About fasting, the Catechism notes:
The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”