By The Tablet Staff
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — In response to Pope Francis’ call for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on Oct. 27 as war continues to rage in Gaza and Israel, Bishop Robert Brennan will celebrate a Mass of Prayer and Peace that day at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James.
A Holy Hour will be held at 11 a.m., followed by the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica at 250 Cathedral Pl., Downtown Brooklyn, at noon on Friday, Oct. 27.
“Pope Francis designated [Oct. 27] as a day of prayer, penance, and fasting,” Bishop Brennan told Currents News. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about doing anyway, and it’s great to be united with the Holy Father in such an effort, calling the whole world to pray for peace.”
In remarks to the faithful attending his Oct. 18 general audience, Pope Francis said: “The situation in Gaza is desperate. Please, let everything possible be done to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.” Noting that various wars are raging throughout the world, the pope appealed to both sides to “cast weapons aside, listen to the voice of the poor, the people, children.
“War does not resolve any problem. It only sows death and destruction. It increases hatred, multiplies revenge,” the pontiff added, urging believers “to take only one part in this conflict, that of peace. Not of words, but prayer and total dedication.”
To that end, Pope Francis announced Oct. 27 as a day of prayer and fasting for peace, and invited believers of various Christian confessions and those belonging to other religious traditions to join, as well as all those “who carry in their heart the cause of peace in the world.”
He announced that at 6 p.m. Oct. 27 in St. Peter’s Basilica, an hour of prayer would be held “in the spirit of penance” to implore God for “peace in our days, peace in this world.” Pope Francis asked churches everywhere to participate by organizing similar initiatives.
Bishop Brennan said, “Any time we pray it’s a good thing, but we’re not about ourselves alone. When the whole world is united in praying for peace, the Lord hears those prayers in a very particular way.”
Gaza has been at the heart of a war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas following an unexpected and deadly surprise attack by Hamas militants Oct. 7 that left some 1,300 Israelis dead, including children.
In the wake of an aggressive counterattack by Israeli armed forces, concerns are rapidly rising about a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, with many struggling to find bread and water. The United States brokered a deal with Israel to allow the delivery of much-needed supplies to Gaza’s civilian population via Egypt.
Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who got his red hat from the Pope Francis on Sept. 30, said that while prayer in itself “is not going to change this terrible situation,” it can give “light to our heart and to our eyes [in] how to see this situation not with hatred, but as human beings and Christians.”