PHOTOS: Catholics gather in Jerusalem for a prayer vigil for peace

PHOTOS: Catholics gather in Jerusalem for a prayer vigil for peace

“The world is not going to end! Life will continue and we want to be part of that life, in a positive way, constructive way, despite everything,” he said. “We want to be among those that, when this situation will finish, have something constructive to say. Although the horizon is still hazy and the word peace seems far away, we are here to pray and to deliver everything to Jesus, because his presence is a consolation for us. With him we also have the strength to live this situation as sons and daughters of God. That’s why we want to say: ‘Yes, Jesus, our hearts are heavy, we do not understand, we have a lot of expectations, but we deliver everything to you, Jesus: Help us to bring together with you all what we have in our hearts.’”

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, placed his candle in a brazier at the end of the prayer vigil that was celebrated on Nov. 9, 2023, in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini

The cardinal is in daily contact with the small flock of Gaza’s Christians. As the Israeli Army’s circle tightens on the city, Christians remain refugees in the Latin parish dedicated to the Holy Family.

A group of nuns from the Missionaries of Charity listens to Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who shared some thoughts with those present at the prayer vigil for peace celebrated Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini
A group of nuns from the Missionaries of Charity listens to Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who shared some thoughts with those present at the prayer vigil for peace celebrated Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini

More in Middle East – Africa

“Our community in Gaza is experiencing a terrible situation. They lost their houses; they don’t have anything. Every day they don’t know if they will have water, something to eat, and if the bombs will fall on them. Every day they can decide to leave [to the south of Gaza Strip] but their answer is always the same: ‘We stay, because we trust in the providence of God, God will help us.’”

A child smiles in his mother's arms after lighting candles during the prayer vigil celebrated on Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini
A child smiles in his mother’s arms after lighting candles during the prayer vigil celebrated on Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini

“The risk is getting higher and higher,” Gaza parish priest Father Gabriel Romanelli told CNA at the prayer vigil. “The shelling is getting more intense in the neighborhoods and everything is shaking like a big earthquake.” Romanelli has been outside the Gaza Strip for 40 days without being able to return. He continues to support his community from Jerusalem. 

A procession behind the cross took place at the end of the prayer vigil that was celebrated on Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini
A procession behind the cross took place at the end of the prayer vigil that was celebrated on Nov. 9, 2023, at the Terra Sancta High School in Jerusalem. Credit: Marinella Bandini

The prayer vigil ended with the lighting of candles and a small procession behind the cross. Attendees placed their candles in braziers set up for the occasion in a second courtyard of the school. In front of these flames, symbolizing the prayer rising to God, Pizzaballa gave the final blessing.