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Pope Francis appeals for peace with Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas

As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict.

The pontiff telephoned the two leaders Friday to express "his very serious concerns" only six weeks after both joined him at the Vatican for a historic prayer meeting.

Francis said he was concerned about the "climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering" that was claiming many victims, resulting in "a serious humanitarian emergency," the Vatican said in a statement.

CRS adviser: Many Filipinos went to shelters before Rammasun struck

An emergency adviser for Catholic Relief Services said many Filipinos learned from Typhoon Haiyan and willingly went to shelters before Typhoon Rammasun struck.

"People realized, 'Oh yes, we are staying in a risky area. We're staying in a tent or shelter that's not very sturdy,' " said Elizabeth Tromans, the Manila-based regional emergency adviser for Catholic Relief Services. "And I think people were quite willing to go into the safe areas that had been identified."

Cease-fire gives Gaza civilians chance to assess damage, seek aid

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Civilians in Gaza used a brief cease-fire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some church representatives said.

The temporary end of hostilities Thursday was to facilitate moving desperately needed aid into the area as well as give those who could leave a chance to escape, said the Vatican's Fides missionary news agency.

Three foreign Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word were to leave Gaza after Israeli missiles destroyed a home very close to Holy Family Church, the territory's only Catholic parish, the agency said Thursday.

British faith leaders warn Parliament not to legalize assisted suicide

The leaders of Britain's faith communities have united to warn Parliament against the "grave error" of legalizing assisted suicide.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury joined 21 other of the most senior Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Jain faith leaders to protest the Assisted Dying Bill.

Interfaith leaders launch daylong unity fast for Mideast peace

While the violence escalates in Israel and Gaza, a movement is taking hold that unites Jews, Muslims and others in a campaign for peace.

On Tuesday, a daylong fast is planned as part of a public effort to show unity in the fight against war and violence in the region.

Using the Twitter hashtag #HungryforPeace, the cause started in Israel and gained strength in England, promoted by Yachad, a U.K.-based pro-Israel, pro-peace group. Last weekend, it was announced in temples, mosques and churches in the U.S.

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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