Pope Francis urged the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to act with courage and end what he called the "spiral of hatred and violence."
Making a Difference: Palestinians face many discriminatory challenges in Israel. To help correct these, an American priest has created the Holy Land Principles.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople may join Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres when they meet Pope Francis to pray for peace this weekend.
The Vatican's chief spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday that the pope had invited the head of the Orthodox faith to join the Middle East leaders at a Vatican prayer summit to be held this Sunday.
“It's true that the pope invited him and wants him to come,'' Lombardi said. “I think he will come but so far we do not have an official confirmation.''
Pope Francis called on the world's Christians to pray with him for peace in the Middle East, help convince governments to come to the aid of refugees and pray for Christian unity.
While peace is a gift from God, it is also built out of the day-to-day handiwork of individuals: true "artisans of peace," who are capable of crafting fraternity and reconciliation with people of all cultures and religions, he said during his general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.
Some reports said the leaders would meet as early as June 6, but the Vatican spokesman said "this great initiative" needs time to come together.
NCR Today: Pope Francis' trip to the Holy Land was a smashing success as he showed the world that religion can be a force for peace and reconciliation.
Pope Francis renewed his call for an end to war and terror as he finished his three-day journey to the Middle East with a marathon of meetings.
Despite insisting that his three-day trip in the Middle East would be “strictly religious,” Pope Francis dove headfirst into the political situation.