While faith cannot change anything in moments of great darkness such as the one Israelis and Palestinians are currently living through in the Israeli-Hamas war, it can, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa said, create "a small light" which will give "orientation."

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Holy Land Catholic leaders have appealed for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Canadian support in dealing with the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe.

Published in Canada

Following a series of attacks on Christians in the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces Dec. 16, including the killing of a mother and daughter at a Catholic church, the Israeli Defense Forces said that it "takes claims regarding harm to sensitive sites with the utmost seriousness." However, the statement did not make any mention of the shooting deaths of the two women in the Holy Family Parish premises.

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Following the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem's denouncement of a series of attacks on Christians in Gaza by Israeli forces Dec. 16, including the killing of a mother and daughter at a Catholic parish, Pope Francis and numerous bishops across the globe also condemned the attack, calling for peace.

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The Hamas militant group Nov. 26 released a third group of hostages numbering 17, who include 12 Israelis, one American woman and an Israeli-American child and three Thai nationals, according to The Associated Press, and Israel confirmed it freed another 39 Palestinians.

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With hopes growing for a temporary, humanitarian cease-fire, Pope Francis met at the Vatican Nov. 22 with relatives of Israelis held hostage by Hamas and, separately, with relatives of Palestinians suffering under the Israeli siege of Gaza.

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Churches in Jordan are canceling Christmas celebrations in solidarity with Gaza as violence in the Palestinian enclave mounts.

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In a media world that portrays the Israel-Palestine conflict as simple hostility between people of the Judaic and Muslim faiths, the Christian presence in Palestine is minimized or erased.

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For Mother María del Pilar Llerena Vargas, "it was an image that will be very difficult to erase." The Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word from Peru, who is serving in the Catholic parish in Gaza, recalled the pain of watching the funeral of Christians killed in an Oct. 19 blast at a Greek Orthodox church.

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President Joe Biden and Pope Francis spoke by phone Oct. 22 to discuss the conflict in Israel and Gaza and facilitating a path to "durable peace" in the region, according to the press offices of both leaders.

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Pope Francis called for the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza and spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss the humanitarian crisis and the need to de-escalate violence in the region.

Published in Reflections

An explosion at the St. Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church campus in Gaza has left the administration building in ruins, and at least 17 people dead, though numbers have not yet been officially confirmed.

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The Vatican, especially Pope Francis, must double its efforts and urge the international community to end the massacre of Palestinians killed in Gaza in the Israel-Hamas war, Palestine's ambassador to Denmark said.

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Amid the devastating violence in Israel and Gaza following Hamas’ deadly surprise attack on Oct. 7, with thousands of casualties on both sides, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has vowed to intensify its already considerable efforts in the Holy Land.

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On the same day the Toronto Board of Rabbis pleaded with their co-religionists to show public solidarity, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, offered himself as one such sign.

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