Cardinal George: Pray for Mideast This Sunday

Meeting Next Week to Pursue Israeli-Palestinian Resolution

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 23, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The newly elected president of the U.S. episcopal conference is urging Catholics to pray for peace in the Holy Land this Sunday.

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, made the request for prayer in advance of an international conference to pursue a just and lasting peace among Israelis and Palestinians. The conference will be held next Tuesday in Annapolis, Maryland.

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department announced the Annapolis meeting, which will gather representatives from approximately 50 nations, along with Israelis and Palestinians.

"In accordance with our discussion last week during the bishops' meeting in Baltimore, I urge you to encourage local parish communities and individual Catholics to pray for peace, especially this coming Sunday, Nov. 25," wrote the 70-year-old prelate to his brother prelates.

"For decades," Cardinal George continued, "our conference of bishops has worked and prayed for peace in the Holy Land. In more recent years, we have joined with Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders in the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East to support a two-state solution to the conflict."

"This call to prayer has a special timeliness this week, but the path to a just peace will be long and will stretch beyond the peace conference itself," Cardinal George concluded. "In the weeks and months ahead, may we persevere in prayer for a just peace for Israelis, Palestinians and the whole region."