Bishop Paolo Martinelli calls for people of all faiths to pray for end of Israel-Gaza war

This follows Pope Francis call for a day of prayer on Friday, October 27, urging for an end to the bloodshed

Bishop Paolo Martinelli has asked people of all faiths to join in a day of prayer and fasting on Friday as part of a call to end the Israel-Gaza war. Pawan Singh / The National
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The head of the Catholic church in the UAE has called on people of all faiths to pray and fast on Friday in solidarity with people suffering in Gaza and Israel.

Bishop Paolo Martinelli's message to people across the region comes after Pope Francis announced October 27 as a day of fasting, prayer and penance, when there would be a gathering at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican “to implore peace in the world”.

The Pope has expressed concern and grief over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, urged for the entry of aid into the besieged territory and appealed for the release of Israeli hostages.

The bishop said in response to the Pope’s message that he had invited people of all beliefs to unite on Friday.

“I invite all people of goodwill in the UAE, Oman and Yemen, especially every Catholic faithful in the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, to fast and pray on Friday, October 27 for every suffering person because of the war,” he said.

The bishop referred to the violence that had destroyed innocent lives and shaken the world in his message.

“The whole world is in shock and anxious about the situation that has emerged in the last few weeks in the Middle East,” said the bishop, who lives in Abu Dhabi and heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia.

“Violence and war have yet again destroyed peace, threatened innocent lives.

“We show our solidarity with every suffering person in Palestine and Israel, which we Christians call the Holy Land.”

Calling for an end to the war, he said the day of prayer would be observed by people of all faith.

“Pope Francis has invited all people of every religion and those who have at heart the cause of peace in the world, to join in prayer and fasting as per their conviction and faith,” Bishop Paolo said.

More than 7,000 people, including 2,704 children have been killed in Gaza since the war began on October 7.

Israel retaliated with air strikes after Hamas militants stormed into Israeli communities, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 200 mostly civilians hostage.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 3:01 PM