October 7 was a day of immense horror. Terror came to Israel when Palestinian militants attacked people attending a music festival and stormed a number of kibbutzim. Hundreds of women, men and children were slaughtered and many were taken hostage.
Since that time, the Israeli Defence Force has launched air strikes on Gaza, where hostages were taken by Hamas militants, and ordered Palestinians to evacuate the north prior to the launching of a ground incursion aiming to eliminate Hamas.
The Pope recently noted that a humanitarian crisis is emerging in Gaza. More adults and children are being killed in the on-going missile strikes and the diminished supply of food, water, medicines and other medical supplies, and fuel is worsening the crisis.
The Pope is also concerned about the conflict spreading to other parts of the region.
In light of these circumstances, the Holy Father implored, “Lay down weapons and heed the cries for peace from the poor, the people, and the innocent children.”
“War solves no problems,” he added. “It only sows death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future, it erases the future.”
The Holy Father went on to urge all believers to take one side only: that of peace. “But not with words,” he continued, “with prayer and with total dedication.”
In this spirit, Pope Francis invited everyone to a day of prayer, fasting, and penance for peace.
He invited Christians, people of other faiths and peace advocates everywhere to participate in the ways they saw fit in this day of prayer, fasting and penance on this Friday, 27 October.
An hour of prayer at 6:00 PM will be held in St. Peter’s Square, with the goal of invoking peace for the world. The Pope invited churches all around the world to organise similar times of prayer on the day.