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World day of prayer for peace in Holy Land

The Catholic bishops of northern Africa and the Arabic world have declared today a special day of prayer for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Archbishop Henri Teissier of Algiers, speaking on behalf of the two episcopal conferences that joined in the initiative, has asked all of the world's Catholic bishops to promote the day of prayer. According to Catholic World News, the proposal originated during a joint discussion, held in Rome in October, that brought together the bishops' conference of northern Africa (CERNA) with that of the Arab region (CERLA).

"It is a common appeal, addressed to all the bishops of the world during Advbent, for a moment when all thoughts will turn toward Palestine," Archbishop Teissier explained. "These two peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, are suffering. All the friends of the Holy Land must pull together, with all their strength, to allow these two peoples to work in peace."

The appeal sent by CERNA and CERLA to the bishops' conferences of the world was originally drafted by the Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. The initiative carried the endorsement of Cardinal Renato Martino (bio - news), the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In their appeal, the organizers asked bishops to choose their own means of observing the day of prayer.

In an interview with the Italian daily Avvenire , published on December 21, Patriarch Sabbah said that Christians have "a special mission" to play in bringing peace to the Holy Land. "We must make our contribution to ending the war between Palestinians and Israelis, and working to build a future of peace and common life," he said.

Regretting that "blood is still being shed in the Holy Land," the bishops of CERNA and CERLA said: "We believe that the churches can always do more." They added: "If all the churches of the world joined in common and concerted action," urging their people and their government leaders to take action, "their intervention could be a decisive factor in winning peace, justice, and reconciliation for the Holy Land."

World day of prayer for peace in Holy Land: Dec. 22 (Catholic World News 21/12/04)

Message for XXXVIII World Day For Peace 2005
World Days of Peace
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Palestinian Christians fear future as an Islamic state (CathNews 8/12/04)
Caritas expresses solidarity with Palestinian people (CathNews 3/12/04)
Catholics fear extremists will prosper after Arafat dies (CathNews 10/11/04)
Pope's Peace Day message that violence can't solve problems (CathNews 17/12/04)

Bishops' appeal for fasting and prayer for Holy Land (Independant Catholic News 21/12/04)

21 Dec 2004