Holy See Sends Delegation to Annapolis

Texas Cardinal Encourages Perseverance in Prayer

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By Marta Lago

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is sending a high-level delegation to the meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, where Israelis and Palestinians will join with other world leaders to seek a Mideast peace.

The Vatican press office confirmed today that the head of the Holy See delegation to the Tuesday meeting will be Monsignor Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for relations with states at the Vatican Secretariat of State. Monsignor Franco Coppola, a counselor at the office of the nunciature, will accompany him.

Last Sunday, before praying the midday Angelus, Benedict XVI seconded an appeal from the U.S. bishops to pray for the success of the meeting.

In Annapolis, with help from the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will try to relaunch negotiations and aim for a just and definitive solution to the conflict that has bloodied the Holy Land for 60 years, the Holy Father said.

In his appeal, the Pope recalled the many "tears and sufferings" the conflict has caused the two peoples. He asked people to "implore the Spirit of God for peace for that region so dear to us and to give wisdom and courage to all the protagonists in this important meeting."

The day of prayer marked by the U.S. bishops' conference is another step in an ongoing plea for peace in the Holy Land, L'Osservatore Romano reported in its Italian edition today.

The Annapolis encounter "offers a lot of hope," newly elevated Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, told the Vatican newspaper. "I hope that those who are involved in this international conference dedicate themselves with diligence to a resolution that effectively assures peace in the regions of the Middle East."

Cardinal DiNardo said parishes and Catholics all over the United States "are praying, following the encouragement of the prelates, so that the prospect of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples becomes a concrete reality." He added that even in a political initiative, such as the Annapolis meeting, prayer "has a great value, also for the future."

"We are called to persevere in prayer," the Texas cardinal concluded, "entrusting to God our hope for peace in the coming weeks and months."