This Sunday, June 8, 2014, Israeli president Shimon Peres and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican.
During their visit, the two Papal guests will pray for peace in the Holy Land. They will be joined by His Holiness the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. All will pray together at St. Peter’s tomb in St Peter’s basilica.
Pope Francis has requested local churches across the international community, “to participate in a similar spiritual initiative.” For example, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, “received a message from Pope Francis requesting that all bishops, priests, men and women religious and all lay people in Ireland be invited to participate this weekend in heartfelt prayer” to support peace throughout the Holy Land.
Efforts like these represent genuine leadership and courage and the beauty of prayer in bringing together different religious groups and denominations to work towards a common goal. Through Pope Francis’s substantial inter-religious example, he successfully brings together leaders from all walks of life for the sake of peace. We at the IRFWP stand fully behind such efforts.
This preeminent example of promoting peace via religious activity and prayer provides a clear pattern for communities worldwide. There is no reason for all of us great and small not to follow in his footsteps.