ROME - Roman Catholic bishops from the U.S. and Europe concluded a visit to Gaza with a call for the end of Israel’s long-running blockade, and greater action to alleviate poverty after last year’s violent war with Israel.

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Despite the immense destruction still evident in Gaza following the war there last summer, the resilience of the people gave hope to 16 bishops of the Holy Land Coordination during their visit to the Gaza Strip Jan. 11-12.

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JERUSALEM - After an early morning synagogue attack left four Israelis dead and eight injured Nov. 18, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal called for an end to all violence in the Holy Land.

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VATICAN CITY - Although Christians, Muslims and Jews have struggled for hundreds of years to live peacefully alongside each other in the Middle East, "we have never seen the kind of 'religious cleansing' we are witnessing today," said the head of the region's Franciscans.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A top Catholic charity official described Gaza as a "complete catastrophe" after nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant Hamas.

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WASHINGTON - The head of a Michigan-based tour company that leads trips to the Holy Land said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas so far has not had an impact on pilgrimages he and his associates lead.

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VATICAN CITY - It's time to stop war, fighting and conflicts, which do nothing but kill and maim, leaving children unexploded ordnance for toys and lives without happiness, Pope Francis said.

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JERUSALEM - Two priests on either side of the Gaza border are trying to help their small communities confront the realities of war.

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JERUSALEM - With most international airlines cancelling their flights into Israel's Ben Gurion airport after several Hamas missiles were launched toward the area July 22, Anton Mousallam has only three words on his mind: cancellation, cancellation, cancellation.

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VATICAN CITY - Civilians in Gaza used a brief ceasefire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some Church representatives said.

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JERUSALEM - Catholic leaders in the Holy Land called for an end to the cycle of violence and criticized Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and its collective punishment of Palestinians.

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BETHLEHEM - Regina Mousalam is adamant that Palestinians are not leaving and will not leave the country of their birth, the land of their ancestry and the culture that is their pride. Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and other Christian Palestinian towns and villages were built around their churches. The homes Palestinian Christians live in, the streets they walk and the extended families surrounding them keep Palestinians wedded to this hard, dry land.

Published in Holy Land Christians

TAYBEH, ISRAEL - Christians in Taybeh know they are special — unique in fact. Taybeh is the last fully and completely Christian village in the Middle East. 

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VATICAN CITY - Praying for peace in the Holy Land alongside leaders of long-antagonistic nations, Pope Francis called on God to act where human efforts had failed, to end what he described as violence inspired by the devil.

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TORONTO - Under the headline “A slap in the face,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant has used his organization’s newspaper to condemn Pope Francis’ recent visit to the Holy Land.

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