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Pope Francis gets ready to welcome presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray for peace

2014-06-06

It will be history in the making. Together with Pope Francis, the President of Israel and the President of Palestine will pray for peace, on June 8th. The  Vatican announced what's expected. 


FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Vatican Spokesperson 
"First President Shimon Peres will arrive, then a few minutes later, President Mahmud Abbas, who earlier that day will have been in Egypt. The Pope will meet with each one of them briefly, inside his residence at Casa Santa Marta. Then at about 6. 45pm, Patriarch Bartholomew, will join the group."


The outdoor ceremony will take place in the Vatican Gardens, at roughly 7pm,  to avoid the city's intense heat. Each leader will have his own delegation. The session will first include a Jewish prayer, then Christian and finally Muslim. An invocation for forgiveness and another for peace will be made in each one of them. 

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA
Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land
"The idea isn't just about having Jews, Muslims and Christians together. If that were the case we could have just gathered people from Rome. Not all members of the same delegation, practice the same religion, but depending on their faith, they will join in  and  for peace in their nation.”


Tension between Israel and Palestine goes back generations, so things aren't expected to change from one day to another. But it does show a willingness to negotiate.  

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA
Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land
"This prayer session will put politics on hold. So even before anything was set, it was made clear that each president would come with their respective staff and national representatives, but politics would be left out the door.” 

The Middle East is ready to find out if the invitation the Pope made back on May 25th, will bare fruit.

POPE FRANCIS
"I offer my home at the Vatican to host this meeting of prayer.”

As that prayer meeting is taking place, Christians in the Holy Land have announced that they will join in prayer in their respective countries.

The prayer ceremony will be made public, but both presidents along with the Pope, will also have a private meeting. 



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