Mgr Pierbattista Pizzaballa issues a letter calling for prayer. In it, he acknowledges the pain for the blood-soaked Holy Land and slams “all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence.” For Fr Ibrahim, a Palestinian priest, "At this time, our hope rests only in the Lord God, to bring about a change in the hearts of political leaders, so that this bloodshed can end."
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The faithful in the Diocese of Jerusalem will gather in prayer on May 19, the eve of Pentecost, to ask "the Holy Spirit to enlighten the hearts and change the minds of political leaders, so that they can meet to resolve this conflict which has lasted for almost 100 years,” said Fr Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest and Chancellor, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, speaking to AsiaNews
The faithful will meet to pray for peace at 5.00 pm in the Church of St Stephen (École Biblique). Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Patriarchate, announced the vigil in a letter published last night.
The prelate expresses sorrow for the violent clashes of recent days, which he describes as "another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land."
And once again “As in a kind of vicious circle, we must condemn all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence. Once again, we are forced by circumstances to plead and cry out for justice and peace!”
The apostolic administrator invites “the entire Christian community of the Diocese to join in prayer for the Holy Land, for the peace of all its inhabitants, for the peace of Jerusalem, for all the victims of this interminable conflict. We need to pray more for peace and our conversion and for all.”
The vigil will also take place in other parishes in the Patriarchate, including on “the Solemnity of Pentecost” when the liturgy will “be dedicated to prayer for peace.”
For Fr Shomali, the Diocese of Jerusalem in particular is called to pray because "Jerusalem is the mother of all. Jerusalem is not a ‘spouse’, nor 'private property' but is everyone's mother. And the 'mother' is sad when one of her children is excluded or dying.”
This is why Jerusalem "is the mother of all those who live in this land: Christians, Muslims and Jews” and his invitation to "pray for our land" is addressed to "all people of good will".
For many Palestinians, the day the US Embassy in Jerusalem was inaugurated marked the end of "two peoples, two states" solution. In the protests that followed, 63 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured.
"For the Palestinian people this is a very difficult moment,” says Fr Ibrahim. “The future appears very bleak. There is nothing on the horizon, there is no hope for lasting peace. And the world looks on, without saying a word.
“At such a time, our hope rests only in the Lord God, to bring about a change in the hearts of political leaders, so that this bloodshed can end. The Lord is the only solution."
In this morning’s general audience, Pope Francis himself pleaded for the end to the violence, saying that "the use of violence can never bring about peace. War begets war, violence begets violence."