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Rome Reports

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Pope meets with priest based in Gaza

From bombings to desperation, Fr. Jorge Hernandez has seen it all. He's a Catholic parish priest based in Gaza. Pope Francis invited him to the Vatican to hear first hand accounts of what locals are dealing with, including the aftermath the destruction has left behind. ; The parish priest is originally from Argentina. He's serving in Gaza as a missionary of the Verbo Incarnato Institute. In an interview with Vatican Radio, he talked about the suffering and death the conflict triggered in the 50 days of bloodshed. It's estimated that 2,100 Palestinians died. ;Sixty eight Israelis were killed. ; Christians are a minority in that region. ;Out of about 2 million residents, roughly 1,300 are Christian. From that group, only 136 are Catholic. ; With so much instability the numbers are dwindling, but he says Pope Francis gave them words of encouragement, by highlighting that sacrifice is at the very core of the Gospel. It's the land where Jesus suffered, he said, but also the land that saw His Resurrection. ; Fr. Hernandez added that peace between Israel and Palestine is possible, especially because in war, he said, everyone loses. ; KLH ; CTV JM -BN Up: PM ;