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Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian presidents to Vatican to pray for peace

Catholic World News - May 25, 2014

At the conclusion of Sunday Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem, Pope Francis invited the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the Vatican to pray for peace.

The Associated Press reported that both leaders accepted the invitation.

“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace,” the Pope said during his Regina Caeli address. “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

“All of us want peace,” the Pope continued. “Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. All of us – especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples – have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.”

During his address, Pope Francis asked the Blessed Mother to pray for the Christians of the Holy Land.

“Mary, watch over our families, our young people and our elderly,” he prayed. “Watch over those who have lost faith and hope. Comfort the sick, the imprisoned and all who suffer. Watch over the Church’s pastors and the entire community of believers; may they may be ‘salt and light’ in this blessed land.”

The Pope concluded, “We entrust the future of our human family to Mary Most Holy, that new horizons may open in our world, with the promise of fraternity, solidarity and peace.”

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