Irish archbishops urge cessation of violence in the Holy Land, respect of civilian populations and release of hostages
The four archbishops of the metropolitan provinces of Ireland: Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin, Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA of Cashel & Emly, and Archbishop Francis Duffy of Tuam, have published a joint statement in response to the large scale killings, injuries and violence that have occurred in Israel and Gaza since 7 October.
The Archbishops said, “over the past days we have watched with shock and dismay the events that have unfolded in the land of the birth of Our Lord. The ongoing situation has caused great suffering to many innocent people on all sides in the present conflict. The loss of innocent lives together with the large numbers of innocent people injured in the Holy Land is a great affront to a lasting peace. Unfortunately, the present crisis does not augur well for the immediate future as many more may endure destruction and death.
“We re-echo the words of Pope Francis when he said at last Sunday’s audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome: ‘May the attacks and weaponry cease. Please! And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people.’”
The four senior prelates concluded, “we, who love the Holy Land as the fifth Gospel, urge all people of goodwill to work towards a cessation of violence, ensuring that civilian populations be respected and that all hostages are released without harm. We join with Pope Francis, and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pizzaballa, in calling for prayers for peace, and praying for the families and individuals suffering through these events at this time: ‘Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace; teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: ‘Never again war!’ Amen.”
A Prayer for peace in Israel and Gaza
Heavenly Father, we pray for the many people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict in Gaza and Israel.
We pray especially those who have died, those who are grieving, the injured and those now without food, shelter or medical supplies. Strengthen and support the work of all relief organisations.
We pray also for those who have the power to bring peace. May they be touched by a spirit of compassion and kindness.
Lord hear us as we pray in the power of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord.