The head of the Press Office of the Holy See, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed that the invitation to pray together for peace in the Vatican, with Jesuit Pope Francis the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, has been accepted and will take place in the afternoon of Sunday, Pentecost June 8, 2014.
He stated: All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. All of us – especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples – have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.”
Pope Francis on Thursday announced June 8 as the date for President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to “pray for peace” at the Vatican.
In the Vatican statement, it was detailed that the “prayer” meeting “will take place on June 8, during the afternoon,” a date “accepted by both parties.” The pope disingenuously stated that the prayers were not intended to be an involvement in the peace process, and that there will be no negotiations that day. In fact the prayer meeting was set on Pentecost for maximum public exposure to galvanize public opinion for peace in the Jewish and Islamic world.
The Vatican announced that the meeting has been scheduled at short notice so as to take place before the end of July, when 90-year-old Peres will step down from his largely ceremonial post of president. However the date chosen, the Biblical Feast of Pentecost; was undoubtedly chose for maximum impact and due to other planned events.
It is highly likely that a bloody Mideast war is set to begin this summer after which a genuine dialogue for peace will take place. By calling for peace through a prayer meeting, the pope is placing the Vatican in the position of peacemaker and world moral leader.
That morning the pope will be presiding at a Pentacost Sunday service in St Peter’s Square and in the afternoon prayers for peace, composed by Catholic, Jewish and Islamic religious leaders will be read out by the three leaders.
Earlier this month, Peres claimed on Israeli television that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had blocked a peace agreement he had secretly negotiated in Jordan with Abbas in 2011.