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Appeal of the Holy Father

Today too, dear brothers and sisters, our thoughts turn to Palestine and Israel. The number of victims is rising and the situation in Gaza is desperate. Please, let everything possible be done to avoid a humanitarian disaster.

The possible widening of the conflict is disturbing, while so many war fronts are already open in the world. May weapons fall silent! Let us heed the cry for peace of populations, of the people, of the children! Brothers and sisters, war does not solve any problem: it sows only death and destruction, foments hate and proliferates revenge. War cancels out the future. I urge believers to take just one side in this conflict: that of peace. But not with words — with prayer, with total dedication.

With this in mind, I have decided to call for a day of fasting and prayer, of penance, on Friday 27 October, to which I invite sisters and brothers of the various Christian denominations, those belonging to other religions and all those who have at heart the cause of peace in the world, to join in as they see fit. That evening, at 6 p.m., at Saint Peter’s, we will spend an hour of prayer, in a spirit of penance, to implore peace in our time, peace in this world. I ask all the particular Churches to participate by arranging similar activities involving the People of God.


Summary of the Holy Father's words

Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal, we have been reflecting on the spread of the Gospel through the witness of men and women of every time and place. Today we consider the life of Saint Charles de Foucauld, whose passionate love of Christ led him to settle in the Sahara desert and to become a brother and friend to the poor. Following his conversion, Charles visited the Holy Land and was moved to devote his life to bringing Christ to others as Mary did at the Visitation: in silence and by example. Dwelling as a hermit among the Tuareg people, he bore witness to the Lord above all by a life of poverty and humility centred on quiet prayer before the Eucharist, with utter confidence in its power to draw hearts to Jesus. By identifying completely with the poor, he sought to become a “universal brother” and in this way to share with them the joy of the Gospel. May the example of Saint Charles de Foucauld inspire us, in the circumstances of our daily lives, to bear quiet and joyful witness to the Lord, and to see and honour him in each of our brothers and sisters.

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