Skip to comments.Holy Land joins Pope Francis' day of prayer for peace in Syria, Mideast
Posted on 09/07/2013 3:11:06 AM PDT by NYer
2013-09-06 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Christians in the Holy Land will be observing the day called by Pope Francis for fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land together with the Latin Parish in Jerusalem have invited all Christians there to join in the observances to pray for peace in the Middle East, Syria and Egypt.
Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, William Shomali told Tracey McClure we took very seriously this wish of his Holiness. The Catholics of Jerusalem will meet at Gethsemane Church on Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. for an hour of adoration. We invited all the Catholic community of Jerusalem, even the non-Catholic communities some of them will participate. This is the wish of the Holy Father also.
Listen to the interview with Bishop Shomali:
The prayer vigil at the Basilica of Gethsemane will be followed by a candlelight procession in the Garden of Olives. The Crypt of the Armenian Catholic Church at the fourth station of the Via Dolorosa will also remain open for private and silent prayer from 7 pm until midnight Saturday in union with pilgrims gathered for the vigil in St. Peters square in Rome.
Though the major event will take place in Jerusalem, Bishop Shomali explains that priests in parishes across the diocese are planning their own spiritual activities and vigils. for example in Ramallah, where we have one of our biggest parishes, the mass will be celebrated in the church of the Greek Catholics. Then the faithful will go to the Islamic club in Ramallah with candles in procession and Muslims will join them until they reach the Latin Catholic church. In this way, they are including with them non-Christians because prayer is not only for Catholics. It is for everyone.
Bishop Shomali says churches in the Holy Land have prayed for peace in the past but this time, things are different, and special. We prayed in the past for peace but not in this way, where we are united to all the Catholic churches in the world. So this unity and communion is something special and the emotional call done by his Holiness is also special. And the covering of the event in the local newspapers is also special. I give an example: in our daily newspaper Al-Quds its not religious, its the national newspaper read by all Palestinians two columns were reserved to publicize this event.
I have a question. I, along with my church am fasting today. BUT, (don’t the buts just get you), I have to attend a function tonight that will involve a lot of food and a lot of booze and a lot of socializing. I can get away with the water and ice cubes, but the food is going to be a problem.
The host has provided food tailored especially to each attendees likes and desires and has chosen something for me.
Hmmmm....grab a plate and pretend? Eat a little bite and dump the rest? This is a bit of a quandry because the host is very sensitive.
Any suggestions. I’m stumped and this isn’t something I can just bow out of attending.
I forgot to add that as an observant Catholic, I’m the proverbial skunk at the garden party. Everyone knows I’m Catholic but it is spoken sotto voce.
Remember that fasting begins and ends in the heart. It is not limited to food. Given the nature of the event and the special attention given by the host for each attendee, it would be an affront to your host if you were to fast at this event. Go, enjoy yourself. If the opportunity presents itself, perhaps you can ask those in attendance to offer up a silent prayer for the Syria situation.
Consider setting aside time for prayer and fasting on 7 September to join in solidarity with Pope Francis and others around the world in praying for peace in Syria and the wider Middle East.
This need not be an all day sacrifice. You may also want to consider breaking the fast for the event and resuming it on Sunday. I offered up my Friday fast and prayers for Syria. Today, I am attending the wake of a close family friend and expecting guests later in the day.
Thanks so much! Your advice is most welcome.