By Jessica Easthope
As a second straight day of ground raids in Gaza gots underway, millions of Catholics across the globe answered Pope Francis’ call, pleading and praying for peace in the Middle East.
A sign of peace, one Catholics prayed will help counteract an exchange of fire thousands of miles away.
Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn stood in solidarity with the Holy Father, calling for an end to violence between Israel and Hamas with a Holy Hour and Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James on Friday, Oct. 27.
“Prayer is about trying to conform ourselves to God’s own will and God’s own mind,” Bishop Brennan said. “So, what we’re looking to do is change ourselves and then to change one another, and change the world.”
For parishioners like Marise Louis, prayer is power over evil, over violence, and over war among neighbors.
“If I thought prayers didn’t work, I wouldn’t waste my time to be here,” Louis said, “God is there for me all the time. He never fails. He never fails. And I believe, I strongly believe, that the war will stop between Israel and Gaza.”
This week Israel has carried out several small-scale ground raids in Gaza and more than 250 air strikes backed by fighter jets and drones targeting Hamas sites.
This recent clash amid a deeply political conflict has claimed thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives.
Father Bryan Patterson, the rector of St. James, said he wanted people to leave Mass realizing it’s not about choosing sides.
“Taking sides and trying to enact revenge is not helpful and we need to open ourselves up that God may release in us what is best in us, which of course is God,” Father Patterson said.
Israel says the ground raids are preparation for a full blown invasion of Hamas-ruled territory in an effort to destroy the militant group’s infrastructure.