Pizzaball added, “Yet, in this time of sorrow and dismay, we do not want to remain helpless. We cannot let death and its sting (1 Cor 15:55) be the only word we hear. That is why we feel the need to pray, to turn our hearts to God the Father. Only in this way we can draw the strength and serenity needed to endure these hard times, by turning to Him, in prayer and intercession, to implore and cry out to God amidst this anguish.”
Pizzaballa, who serves as the head of Latin Catholics living in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus, said he invited Catholic parishes and religious communities across the world for “a day of fasting and prayer for peace and reconciliation.”
“In this time of sorrow and dismay, we do not want to remain helpless,” he added. “We cannot let death and its sting be the only word we hear. That is why we feel the need to pray, to turn our hearts to God the Father. Only in this way we can draw the strength and serenity needed to endure these hard times, by turning to him, in prayer and intercession, to implore and cry out to God amidst this anguish.”
Call for releasing hostages
In addition to the fighting, some 130 Israelis — many of them children — were taken hostage by Hamas after the surprise attack.
In a video conference call on Monday with Italian reporters, Pizzaballa also said he was willing to broke an exchange for the hostages Hamas took in the attacks.
“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home,” he said. “No problem. There is total willingness on my part.”
Pizzaballa added that “the release of the hostages” was a primary concern, “otherwise there will be no way of stopping [an escalation]. We are willing to help, even me personally,.”
Meanwhile, Pope Francis, in his weekly Sunday address, called for the release of the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas.
“I continue to follow, with pain and apprehension, what is happening in Israel and Palestine. So many people killed and others wounded,” Pope Francis said, speaking in St. Peter’s Square. “I pray for those families who saw a feast day turn into a day of mourning, and I ask that the hostages be immediately released.”