WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Pope prays for Gaza

Expressing his ‘grave worry’ over the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip, Pope Benedict last Sunday prayed that Israeli and Palestinian authorities would work to end the bloodshed in the region.

‘I am following the news about the grave deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip,’ Benedict said, addressing the faithful from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square, AsiaNews reports.

Reuters reports that Israel’s latest offensive, mainly focusing on the town of Beit Hanoun, not far from the border, is one of the biggest since Israel’s army and Jewish settlers pulled out of Gaza last year after 38 years of occupation.

Speaking to a crowd of 20,000 the pope called on ‘nations with particular responsibility in the region’ to work to end the latest spate of violence in Gaza.

Pope Benedict expressed his ‘nearness to civilian people who are suffering the consequences of acts of violence’.

‘I ask you to join in my prayer, that the almighty and merciful God may enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian authorities … so that they may undertake to stop the bloodshed, multiplying initiatives of humanitarian aid and encouraging the immediate resumption of direct, serious and concrete negotiations,’ he said.