Pope Francis hosts Israeli, Palestinian leaders at prayer summit
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: June 16th, 2014
Pope Francis brought together the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority ... at the Vatican to join in prayer and promise to seek peace though their governments are officially not talking. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas concluded the two-hour ceremony by kissing each other on the cheek and then planting an olive tree, gestures intended to signal a commitment to trying to end one of the longest-running, most intractable conflicts in the world. Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare, Pope Francis said during the gathering, dubbed a prayer summit. Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace. The meeting was historic. The prayer summit was a remarkable show of the new popes intention to mix spiritual matters and real-world diplomacy. Francis was visiting the Holy Land just two weeks ago when he invited the two leaders to come to the Vatican. No one is presumptuous enough to think peace will break out on Monday, the Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, a church official in charge of Catholic sites in the Holy Land, [said]. The intention of this initiative is to reopen a road that has been closed for some time; to re-create a desire, a possibility; to make people dream, he said. During the service, Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers were recited in English, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew. The words were intended to thank God for His creation, to seek forgiveness for the failure to act as brothers and sisters, and to ask for peace in the Holy Land.
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