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Pope's prayers with Middle East leaders set for Sunday evening

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Pope's prayers with Middle East leaders set for Sunday evening


Pope Francis will host the Israeli and Palestinian presidents later today for prayers in the Vatican gardens.

The pontiff wants to rekindle the vision of peace in the Middle East.

It will be the first time this kind of meeting has ever taken place at the Vatican and the first meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in over a year.

The Sunday evening prayer will be a “pause in politics” – a spiritual moment rather than a political one.

Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, explained:

“No one has the presumption to think, even for a second, those that understand the situation in the Middle East, that peace will suddenly break out on Monday, or that peace is any closer. The intention of this initiative is to reopen a path that perhaps has been closed for too long. To recreate a new desire, a possibility, to dream.”

Francis, Peres and Abbas will make short speeches. Then the men will plant an olive tree in a gesture of peace.

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