Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican June 28, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Pope Francis called on believers and non-believers to devote a minute of prayer and reflection for peace in the Middle East and the world during the latest Wednesday papal audience, the Holy See official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported on Thursday.
“Next Saturday, June 8, will mark the fifth anniversary of the encounter, here in the Vatican, between the presidents of Israel and Palestine and me and Patriarch Bartholomew,” Francis said according to the newspaper.
“At 1 pm, we are invited to devote a ‘minute to peace,’ - of prayers for believers, of reflections for those who do not believe - all together for a more fraternal world. Thank you to the Azione Cattolica Internazionale [a Catholic lay association], which has promoted this initiative,” he added.
On June 8, 2014, late Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attended an event hosted by Pope Francis in the Vatican gardens. Several dozen religious leaders also participated in the event, including Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the spiritual guide of Orthodox Christians.
The Pontiff had invited Peres and Abbas during his visit to the region in May 2014. During the ceremony, each faith's representatives recited a prayer for peace.
During the audience on Wednesday, the Pope greeted different groups of pilgrims visiting Rome from around the world.
“I warmly welcome here the Arab-speaking pilgrims, especially those who come from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, may you be promoters of a culture of encounter that disavows indifference and division, and allows us singing God’s mercy with all our might,” the Pope said according to the Holy See newspaper.
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