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Pope expresses solidarity with Palestinian Catholics in Holy Land

March 28, 2024 at 1:32 pm

Pope Francis met Palestinian Bassam Aramin and Israeli Rami Elhanan who have both lost their daughters in the Israel-Palestine conflict. March 2024 [Vatican Media]

Pope Francis has expressed his support for Catholics in the Holy Land as Easter approaches. He assured them, “You are not alone.”

The statement came following a meeting with two peace activists, Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli, who both lost their daughters, ages ten and 13, because of the war.

Aramin saw his ten-year-old Abir die from a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier in 2007 as she left school.

While Elhanan lost his 13-year-old daughter, Smadar, in a suicide attack in Jerusalem in 1997.

Highlighting how the men have come together, as friends, to heal, the pope said: “They do not look at the enmity of war… They look to the friendship of two men who care about each other and have experienced the same crucifixion.”

“I embrace all of you, in the variety of your rites… [particularly[ those most affected by the senseless tragedy of war — the children robbed of their future, those who grieve and are in pain, and all who find themselves prey to anguish and dismay.

“In these bleak times… you are lamps shining in the night,” he said, adding that “soon we hope to return among you as pilgrims, to draw near to you, to embrace you”.

He went on to pray for “peace in the Holy Land.”

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