Pizzaballa, who serves as the head of Latin Catholics living in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Cyprus, acknowledged that the war may inhibit many Catholics in the Holy Land from organizing large gatherings and encouraged “simple and sober common moments of prayer in parishes, religious communities, and families.”
In response, Catholics from around the world have also pledged on social media to join in the fast for peace in the Holy Land in solidarity, which falls on the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the first-century bishop and martyr from Syria.
After Hamas’ unprecedented multi-front attack on Israel killed 1,200 people, the Israeli government vowed retaliation and launched airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing 900 people according to Gaza officials.
Some 130 Israeli hostages were taken by the militant Islamist group, who have threatened to kill one hostage every time that Israel’s military bombs civilian targets in Gaza without warning.
“The pain and dismay at what is happening is great. 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,” Pizzaballa said.
“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.”