In a significant humanitarian gesture, Pope Francis is set to hold separate meetings with families of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and with Palestinian families affected by the war in Gaza. These meetings are scheduled for November 22, after Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesperson, emphasized the exclusively humanitarian nature of these encounters. Pope Francis’s intent is to offer spiritual support to those suffering from the ongoing war. The Pope’s approach has consistently been one of empathy and peace, as he has frequently included prayers for the Holy Land in his public addresses and called for the release of hostages and protection of civilians in Gaza.
This initiative aligns with Pope Francis’s message during the Angelus on November 12, where he expressed solidarity with “all those who are suffering, Palestinians and Israelis” and highlighted the sanctity and preciousness of every human being in God’s eyes, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has also underlined the importance of these meetings.
He pointed out that releasing hostages and establishing a ceasefire are crucial steps towards resolving the conflict. These steps are viewed as pivotal, considering the humanitarian aspects, including the need for medical aid and the protection of civilians.
These upcoming meetings reflect the Church’s active role in addressing global humanitarian crises and Pope Francis’ personal commitment to peace and reconciliation. The meetings are expected to provide a platform for the affected families to share their experiences and for the Pope to offer his guidance and support.
Pray for peace!
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