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Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land
Bishop Melczek’s blog: Tuesday, September 16, 2014


     Greetings from Nazareth! Our group of 18 bishops from the U.S. celebrated Mass in Nazareth at the Annunciation Basilica and prayed for peace in the Holy Land. After Mass, we took the bus to Ramallah, where we first met with Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Consul and director of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. She reaffirmed the position of the bishops that prayer is powerful and peace is possible. She also reinforced our position of the importance of a two-state solution and stressed the need for the United States to push for peace talks. She said the recent visit of Pope Francis serves as a strong encouragement for Christians to remain in the Holy Land.

     We then met with Dr. Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister. He commended the Catholic Church for its promotion of peace, and he also emphasized the great significance of the Pope Francis’ visit. He stressed the need for those of all religions within Palestine to be able to live and work together and the importance of retaining hope despite the current difficult situation. 

     Our group then had lunch with Catholic, Protestant and Muslim leaders and used that occasion to offer a common prayer for peace. Following lunch, we took the bus to Jaffa and the Peres Peace Center, built in 1996 on the Mediterranean seashore between Jaffa, populated mostly by Palestinians, and Tel Aviv, populated mostly by Jews. Again, the importance of Pope Francis, who brings love to a highly skeptical world and promotes peace, was emphasized.



Bishop's Blog Gaza

Catholic Relief Services Gaza field manager Bassam Nassar points out damage incurred in Gaza during the 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict to a delegation of U.S. bishops on Sept. 14. Bishop Dale J. Melczek travelled with his brother bishops as part of the USCCB's 2014 Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land. They prayed with local Christians, talked to residents and surveyed the destruction of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. (photo by Matt McGarry/Catholic Relief Services)


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