Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who first issued a call for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land, issued a special message to the youth of Palestine about how prayer is vital right now.
Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who is responsible for Latin Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, and Cyprus, said in a video message that in difficult times, people want to know that someone is close to them. If Christians believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the world, he said, prayer is the “instrument” to bring him close to us and to “make us close to him.”
“Prayer is not going to change this terrible situation,” the cardinal continued, “but it gives light to our hearts and to our eyes how to see this situation not with hatred but as human beings and Christians to look at this with a heart where there still, despite all, [is] space for hope.”
He said that currently, when “we are living very difficult and terrible days of hatred, violence, and war,” Christians in the Holy Land “need to be united in prayer.”
Cardinal Pizzaballa became a cardinal just a few days ago, in the consistory of September 30, and was traveling in his native Italy when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7. He called for the day of prayer along with other Christian leaders in the Holy Land. He also said he is willing to be exchanged for Israeli children being held hostage by Hamas.