A Day of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East
In a statement issued by the Vatican yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI called for an immediate cease fire in the Middle East and declared July 23rd a special day of prayer. In his written statement the Pope declared
The Lebanese have a right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis have a right to live in peace in their nation and the Palestinians have the right to have a free and sovereign country.The USCCB is urging all bishops to communicate the message of Pope Benedict to the priests and parishioners in their dioceses. In a letter to all the bishops, Bishop William Skylstad wrote:
The Holy Father has declared July 23rd to be a day dedicated to prayers and penance for people of all religious faiths "to implore God for the precious gift of peace." In a brief statement issued by the Vatican press office on July 20, Pope Benedict XVI urged prayers for "an immediate cese fire between the (warring) sides," the establishment of "a humaitarian corridor in order to bring aid to the suffering people," and the satrt of "reasonable and responsible negotiations so as to end the objective situation of injustice exisitng in that region."
I share this information with you in hopes that you will find a way to share it with the priests and people of your (arch)dioceses. Also, I wanted you to be aware that both the Holy See and our Conference have spoken out on the current crisis in the Middle East and you can find those statements on the USCCB website.
Here is a link to the statement by the USCCB.