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FATIMA, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 05: Pope Francis delivers final remarks to pilgrims and members of the faithful at the end of his prayers in Apparitions Chapel at the Sanctuary of Fatima during the ceremony in which he presided on a Rosary prayer with patients and prayed for peace in Ukraine on August 05, 2023 in Fatima, Portugal. Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has called for an international day of “prayer, fasting, and penance for peace” in the Holy Land on October 27. 

During his weekly general audience on October 18, Francis invited people of “various Christian confessions, members of other religious, and all who hold the cause of peace in the world at heart to participate” in a day of praying and fasting on October 27. The Pope issued his call for prayer in light of the escalating Israel-Palestine war in the Holy Land. 

“I invite all the particular Churches to take part by organizing similar initiatives which involve the people of God,” Francis added. 

The day of prayer will culminate in an hour of prayer at 6 p.m. local time at St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News.  

“The number of victims is growing and the situation in Gaza is desperate,” the Holy Father said during his audience. 

He pleaded that “everything possible be done to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.” 

“The world already witnesses so many open war fronts,” he said, calling on everyone to “[l]ay down weapons and heed the cries for peace from the poor, the people, and the innocent children.” 

“War solves no problems,” he continued. “It only sows death and destruction, increases hatred, multiplies revenge. War erases the future, it erases the future.” 

Vatican News noted that “The Holy Father went on to urge all believers to take one side only: that of peace.” 

“But not with words,” Francis said, “with prayer and with total dedication.” 

The Latin Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, had previously called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land on October 17. 

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

Pizzaballa has boldly offered himself to be exchanged for hostages held by the Hamas terrorist regime 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. 

“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.   

READ: Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem volunteers to be exchanged for Israeli hostages