Pray for Peace in our World
The Mary Ward Centre would like to share an invitation from the Religious at the UN to pray for peace each day at 9am EST, echoing Pope Francis’ call to prayer and fasting for peace in our world.
Please see below a variety of news releases and statements from the IBVM/CJ UN Office concerning the violent war in Israel-Palestine. Take your time to prayerfully reflect on what is shared here.
The Religious at the UN (RUN) - a coalition of Catholic Religious with presence at the UN is inviting you to join us to pray for peace everyday wherever you are at 9am EST. We ask you to at least, please share the prayer invitation to your network.
As you know, the continuing situation of war and conflict in our world is escalating. The violence in Gaza is deteriorating with nearly 9,000 people killed, at least 3,648 children and 2,187 women. We must do what we can to stop what is considered as genocide.
We share with you the statements by the Holy See, Open Letter from Palestinian Christians and Rabbinic Council (Jewish Voice for Peace).
For those who would like to know more, here are some links. It gives us some understanding of the history and situation in Gaza.
UN OCHA has been publishing frequent updates. The one from yesterday notes 1.4 million internally displaced Palestinians, +8500 Palestinians killed, 70% of whom are women and children:
UNICEF- “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children”
UNRWA chief: “no place is safe in Gaza”; “an entire population is being dehumanized”; “another crisis is also unfolding in the West Bank”
Noting that in 2015, UNRWA already questioned whether Gaza would be a ‘livable’ place by 2020 due to Israeli policies:
Oxfam: Starvation is being used as a weapon of war in Gaza
Statements by the Society of St. Yves, “a Catholic human rights organization working under the patronage of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem”
On the bombing of St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church by Israel and the killing of 20 Palestinians
Followed by a collective baptism due to fears “children will not survive”
Some background on general Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement / religious celebrations of Palestinian Christians in Gaza (from 2022)
Kairos Palestine document of 2009
And in line with land recognitions at meetings in the US, I invite you to learn of the over 600 Palestinian localities erased during the Nakba:
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Palestinian, and Israeli human rights organizations have all issued reports on Israel’s system of apartheid. The Quakers have created an “Apartheid Free Campaign” for faith communities.
Also noting continued displacement, land appropriation, and erasure in the West Bank by Israeli settlers and State (see OCHA link above): “Nearly 1,000 Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from their homes in the West Bank since 7 October. This includes at least 98 Palestinian households, comprising over 800 people, driven out from 15 herding/Bedouin communities in Area C, amid intensified settler violence and access restrictions. Another 121 Palestinians were displaced following the demolition of their homes by the Israeli authorities on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits or as a punitive measure.”
The UN Secretary General has been clear about the humanitarian crisis unfolding as a result of the bombing and the refusal to allow food, water and medical supplies to Gaza. We join the Secretary General and the UN General Assembly in calling for the cessation of hostilities, release of hostages and allowing humanitarian aid especially food, water and medical supplies to enter Gaza.
To be clear, we do not support Hamas and denounce the killing of innocent civilians and the taking of hostages. But we also denounce the unilateral bombing of communities and civilians in pursuit of the terrorists. Humans cannot be collateral damage. Peace is the only solution.
The Executive Director of UNICEF reports that over 3,000 children have died in the three weeks of hostilities. You can read the article here.
UN Independent Human Rights Expert said that the Israel-Palestine crisis has ‘reached an unprecedented level of dehumanisation.’ You can read her comments here.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Gaza. You can follow the UN voting process here. You might also hear your country representative's reasoning for their vote. We also attach a photo of the voting of member states.
You can read the full text of the UNGA Resolution here:
Also attached are the Statement released by Committee of Religious NGO, a multi-faith coalition of NGOs and statement issued by the Rabbinical Council Statement (US based Rabbis) shared with us by our colleague Beth Blissman (Loretto Community UN Rep).
Rabbinical Council Statement: https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/2023/10/08/rabcab10-08/
Former senior UN officials publish statement in support of the UN Secretary-General shared by our colleague Mary Yelenick (Pax Christi UN Rep).
Pope Francis has asked for prayers and fasting. Let us continue to pray for peace and do all that we can to convince our leaders to end this war and all wars.