Bishop Kulick asks the faithful to respond to The Holy Father’s appeal for peace in the Holy Land
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
All of us have been horrified by the recent events in the Holy Land. There are hardly words that describe the atrocities that are occurring seemingly without any solution for peace in the foreseeable future. As Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, I am calling on every parish in the Diocese to respond to the Holy Father, Pope Francis’s appeal for prayers for peace in the Holy Land to occur on October 27, 2023. Each parish will determine how those prayers will be offered. I myself am offering the 11:45 AM Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on that day and everyone is welcome to attend. Please check with your parish to see what might be occurring in your area.
I have recently received two thoughtful commentaries on the situation in the Holy Land that I wish to share with you.
The first is from His Eminence, +Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, which was published on October 11, 2023:
A Call for Prayer and Fasting for Peace
“Since he is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor. 14,33)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord indeed give us His peace!
The pain and dismay at what is happening is great. Once again we find ourselves in the midst of a political and military crisis. We have suddenly been catapulted into a sea of unprecedented violence. The hatred, which we have unfortunately already been experiencing for too long, will increase even more, and the ensuing spiral of violence will create more destruction. Everything seems to speak of death.
Yet, in this time of sorrow and dismay, we do not want to remain helpless. We cannot let death and its sting (1 Cor 15:55) be the only word we hear.
That is why we feel the need to pray, to turn our hearts to God the Father. Only in this way we can draw the strength and serenity needed to endure these hard times, by turning to Him, in prayer and intercession, to implore and cry out to God amidst this anguish.
On behalf of all the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, I invite all parishes and religious communities to a day of fasting and prayer for peace and reconciliation….This is the way we all come together despite everything, and unite collectively in prayer, to deliver to God the Father our thirst for peace, justice, and reconciliation.
With sincere prayers for all,
+Pierbattista Card. Pizzaballa
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The second is a letter that Michael La Civita, Lieutenant of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, Eastern Lieutenancy in the U.S.A. wrote to the Knights and Dames of the Order on October 19, 2023. His words are important for all of us to hear:
“Dear Knights and Dames,
The devastation in the Holy Land continues, and as the death count mounts, so do the stories that hit our hearts hard.
On Tuesday, a hospital of the Episcopal Church in the Holy Land was hit by a rocket, which landed in the back of the hospital in the children’s playground. The only Christian hospital in Gaza, Al Ahli Hospital provided the poorest of Gaza’s poor with quality health care and it served as a refuge for some 5,000 people seeking a haven from the latest war. More than 500 people, including 30 children, are feared dead. And now, just minutes ago, I learned that a building of the ancient Orthodox parish in Gaza has been hit and has collapsed on families taking shelter there. The parents of a friend and colleague were in the building, and he cannot locate them. As another colleague just wrote, “We are all in tears.”
Friends, as members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as Catholics, as Christians, we know war will not bring about justice, nor will it bring about peace. As I noted last Saturday to our newly invested and promoted members, “Your investiture comes at a time when, yet again, the lands we hold as sacred and holy are embroiled in a cycle of violence.”
Jesus, the prince of peace, offers us all a different path. He offers us his peace. Peace. What a simple word and yet how elusive. So much is occurring in our world, our church, our country, our communities and our homes and families, we fail to keep up. We may feel overwhelmed.
Since the first days of this unique chivalric order of the Catholic Church, we have been about company, accompaniment. We accompany pilgrims to the Holy Land in their quest to venerate the places associated with Jesus. We band together to ensure their safe arrival and to fortify our own spiritual growth. We accompany the Christian communities in the holy lands, from Gaza to Iraq, Syria to Israel. We band together to advance the Gospel message of love of God and love of our neighbor where it first took root.
Let us strengthen our company and work together, united in prayer, to recommit our lives as knights and dames of the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Let our renewal strengthen our company as we seek to strengthen the churches of the lands made holy by the blood shed by the Lord and his martyrs, especially the mother church of Jerusalem. Let our work nurture and advocate for the Christian communities in the Holy Land, men and women of faith, who turn to us for help as they strive to live as Jesus taught us. Let our company of men and women, our Eastern Lieutenancy, answer their calls for help in support of the church’s many good works at the service of all.
Let this renewal prompt in us our commitment to pray, to work for justice and always, always, always advance the cause for peace.
May we remember always that our company of men and women dedicated to the Holy Sepulchre, not as an object, but as the symbol of the triumph of life over death by the prince of peace, is only strong when we remain together, united in our quest to accompany.”
Again I ask you to pray for peace in the Holy Land. In particular I ask that you set aside Friday, October 27, 2023 as a day of prayer and fasting for the quick arrival of that peace.
The Most Reverend Larry J. Kulick, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg