BEIRUT – Amid the destruction in war-torn Syria, a community of Discalced Carmelites in Aleppo perseveres in its mission of continuous prayer and help to families in need.
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VATICAN CITY -- As war continues to threaten the land of Jesus' birth and to undermine the existence of Christian communities there, the international community must learn from the errors of the past and do more to bring lasting peace to the Middle East, Pope Francis said.

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ROME – Promoting and protecting religious freedom is a shared priority of the United States and the Vatican, said Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.
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VATICAN – Although the sin of war committed by nations has caused great suffering to Christians in the Middle East, the Catholic Church must bear in mind its own sins, Pope Francis said.
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They are desperate, poor and usually forgotten until violence erupts and the world takes note of them burying their dead.

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JERUSALEM – Already in a precarious state, Gaza's health system faces a medical emergency, with more than 1,000 people injured in the recent Gaza border demonstrations that flared up since March 30.
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VATICAN – Warning that violence will never bring peace, Pope Francis urged all sides to do all they can to foster dialogue in the Middle East.
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JERUSALEM – As the world witnesses "another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land," the head of Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate called for prayers for peace.
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OTTAWA – Catholic aid agencies that help Syrian and Iraqi refugees say a recent escalation of conflict in Syria has increased despair and heightened the call for peace from Christian leaders.

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VATICAN – Pope Francis will travel to Bari, the southern Italian Adriatic port city, July 7 to host a day of reflection and ecumenical prayer for peace in the Middle East.
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JERUSALEM – Christian leaders in the Holy Land reopened the Church of the Holy Sepulcher Feb. 28 after the Israeli government set up a negotiating team to resolve a municipal dispute over property taxes.
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At an ecumenical prayer service for peace in the Middle East, Cardinal Thomas Collins made his most direct appeal yet for the Canadian government to pay special attention to Christian refugees as it distributes aid in the region and accepts refugees for resettlement.

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VATICAN CITY – To understand the current situation in Iraq – the evolving and complex conflicts there, and the fear and resilience of its Christians – one has to understand its past, which is often ignored or unknown in the West, said a former papal representative to the country.

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For the first time, Development and Peace spent more than half its international budget for humanitarian aid in the Middle East, according to its annual report.

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FATIMA, Portugal – Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary in Fatima, praying for peace and stability.

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