Pope Francis called for prayers for peace in the Middle East today after praying the noonday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“On the occasion of today’s Day of prayer for peace in the Middle East, I invite everyone to implore God’s mercy and peace in that region,” the Holy Father said. “May the Lord support the efforts of those who strive for dialogue and fraternal coexistence in the Middle East, where the Christian faith was born and is alive, despite the suffering. To those dear populations may God always grant peace, perseverance, and courage.”
The Catholic Churches present in Middle Eastern Countries are celebrating the first “Day of Peace in the East” on Sunday, June 27, which this year will also be characterized by a special act of consecration of the Middle East to the Sacred Family of Nazareth. The initiative to celebrate from now on an “Annual Day of Peace for the East was promoted in principle by the Episcopal Committee ‘Justice and Peace’, a body linked to the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East, in conjunction with the 130th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891, on the ‘Rights and duties of capital and work’.”
In addition to his Angelus appeal, the Holy Father today sent a letter to the Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East who are celebrating the first “Day of Peace for the East”, a Divine Liturgy to invoke from the Lord the gift of peace in the Middle Eastern region and consecrate it to the Holy Family.
“Since the beginning of my Pontificate I have sought to be close to your sufferings, both by making myself a pilgrim: first to the Holy Land, then to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and finally a few months ago to Iraq, and by inviting the whole Church to prayer and concrete solidarity for Syria, Lebanon, so tried by war and social, political and economic instability,” the Pope wrote in his letter. “Then I remember well the meeting of July 7, 2018, in Bari, and I thank you because with your gathering today you are preparing hearts for the convocation of next July 1 in the Vatican, together with all the Heads of the Churches of the Land of the Cedars.”