Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
12 June 2014
John E. Kozar

Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople plant an olive tree after an invocation for peace in the Vatican Gardens 8 June. (photo: CNS/Cristian Gennari)

This past Pentecost Sunday, I was profoundly moved by the historic prayer summit our Holy Father hosted in the Vatican. I hope you were, too.

When Pope Francis prayed for peace with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, they weren’t alone. Millions of Jews, Christians and Muslims around the globe were praying with them.

To my ears, our Holy Father’s prayer perfectly summed up the hopes each of us share. “Lord,” he asked, “Defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be ‘brother’, and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!”

I have faith that Sunday moved us closer to seeing the pope’s prayer answered — even as it posed a challenge: What should we do, every day, to ensure peace comes to pass?

I believe there’s only one answer: share our Lord’s compassion with one and all. For more than 85 years, that’s exactly what Catholic Near East Welfare Association has been doing in Palestine, Israel and beyond.

To borrow from the pope’s words, CNEWA helps renew hearts and minds. We fund educational, nutritional and health care projects that improve the lives of impoverished Christians and their neighbors. We support the hard-working priests, nuns and lay people who devote their lives to helping the poor.

On Sunday, Pope Francis crossed the chasm of religious, political and cultural differences to pursue one goal: peace. At CNEWA, we approach our mission with the same spirit — using Christ’s love to bridge the gulf between people and communities.

How do we do it? Through the simple generosity of people like you. Every gift you make to CNEWA, large or small, helps make our world a bit less threatening. A little closer to becoming the peaceful place we want for all.

Won’t you join us? Please click here and give what you can. Let’s help our Holy Father and his guests see their prayers — and the hope for peace — find fertile ground at last.

Thank you and God bless you.

Tags: Pope Francis Palestine Israel Muslim