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St Mary’s Cathedral to offer Masses on 17 October for peace in the Holy Land

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Cardinal-designate Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, looks inside a damaged building as he visits the town of Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 10, 2023. (OSV News photo/courtesy Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Updated 16/10/23 4.30pm, 7:41pm

St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney will offer all Masses on 17 October for peace in the Holy Land in response to a call from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

In a statement on the unfolding Holy Land crisis made from Rome, where he is participating in the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP encouraged Catholics to make time to pray for an end to hostilities.

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“Along with many throughout the world, we are horrified at the unfolding and escalating war in the Middle East,” Archbishop Fisher said.

“The images of barbaric and unrelenting violence, largely upon innocent civilians, is unspeakable.

“Tragically, the already immense humanitarian crisis occasioned by this conflict is likely to grow further.

“As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace who became incarnate in the very lands of this conflict, we pray for an end to this war and the devastating human misery that it brings.

“The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Eminence Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa, has called for a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence, to be observed around the world on Tuesday the 17th of October.

“To this end, all of the Masses offered at St Mary’s Cathedral tomorrow (Tuesday 17 Oct) will be for this special intention.

“I encourage you all to make time tomorrow either at St Mary’s Cathedral or your local parish, to pray for an end to the hostilities in the Holy Land and for the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ to fill the hearts of all people.”

Cardinal Pizzaballa has requested that a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence be observed around the world in “simple and sober common moments of prayer in parishes, religious communities and families.”

“We pray for all those who are currently suffering in this war and the families reeling from the violence in the Holy Land,” said a statement by the cathedral on social media.

“Uniting our prayers and fasting with many others around the world, we turn to God the Father and together express our hunger and thirst for peace, justice and reconciliation.

“Please keep praying for an end to the war and that God’s saving power be made known to all the afflicted.”


Aid to the Church in Need in Australia is calling for a day of prayer and abstinence for peace in the Holy Land on Tuesday 17 October in union with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

The international Catholic charity has kept in touch with the leader throughout the escalation of violence in southern Israel and Gaza and grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Cardinal Pizzaballa invited all parishes and religious communities to observe “simple and sober common moments of prayer” especially Eucharistic adoration and the recitation of the rosary during the month of Our Lady.

“The pain and dismay at what is happening is great,” said the cardinal in a statement on 11 October.

“Once again we find ourselves in the midst of a political and military crisis. We have suddenly been catapulted into a sea of unprecedented violence.

“The hatred, which we have unfortunately already been experiencing for too long, will increase even more, and the ensuing spiral of violence will create more destruction. Everything seems to speak of death.”

ACN executive president Regina Lynch told The Catholic Weekly that all benefactors had been invited to observe the day of prayer.

“The situation is really tragic and very frightening,” she said.

“The Middle East has been unstable for so long and we feel for all the victims of this [latest] violence and we’re also concerned about the Christians, because so many have left these countries of the Bible in the last year and for decades now—are we going to see another huge number leaving?

“Humanly speaking, it’s hard to imagine what the solution is. We really have to trust in God and as it’s the month of the rosary, that we really have to beseech heaven with our prayers for an end to the conflict.”

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