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Cardinal Pierbattista PizzaballaYouTube screenshot

Pledge your prayers and fasting for peace in the Holy Land HERE

JERUSALEM (LifeSiteNews) — The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has offered himself to be exchanged for hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. 

“I am ready for an exchange, anything, if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home. No problem. There is total willingness on my part,” Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa said in response to a question asked by a journalist in an online meeting on October 16, Reuters reports. 

“The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of stopping (an escalation). We are willing to help, even me personally,” he stated.  

However, Pizzaballa said that he had not been able to contact the Islamist terror organization Hamas yet and stressed that it is “very difficult” to reach and talk to them. 

Hamas took around 200 Israelis, including children, as hostages in the October 7 terror attacks. The terrorists threatened to kill hostages in retaliation for Israeli military attacks on civilian targets in Gaza.  

The Vatican has called for peace in the region and offered to mediate a ceasefire agreement between the conflict parties. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin condemned the “inhuman” Hamas attacks and also expressed concern for civilians in Gaza and the hostages held there by the terrorists.  

On October 11, Cardinal Pizzaballa called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Israel-Hamas war. 

READ: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem calls for ‘day of prayer and fasting for peace and reconciliation’ 

“[I]n this time of sorrow and dismay, we do not want to remain helpless,” Pizzaballa wrote in his letter.  

“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.” 

“We ask that on Tuesday, October 17, everyone hold a day of fasting, abstinence, and prayer. Let us organize prayer times with Eucharistic adoration and with the recitation of the Rosary to Our Blessed Virgin Mary,” he wrote. “Although most probably in many parts of our dioceses circumstances will not permit large gatherings, it is possible to organize simple and sober common moments of prayer in parishes, religious communities, and families.” 

It is important to pray and fast during this time of “political and military crisis” and “unprecedented violence.” 

He noted that through prayer and fasting, “we all come together despite everything, and unite collectively in prayer, to deliver to God the Father our thirst for peace, justice, and reconciliation.” 

You can pledge your prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land here.