Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike Smoke rises in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli airstrike 

Bishops and Christian organizations in UK urge Gaza ceasefire

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issue a statement calling on the UK government to increase efforts for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate release of all hostages.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Bishops of England and Wales have added their voice to the worldwide calls for “justice, peace, and the cessation of the suffering in the Holy Land.” 

Appeal for diplomatic efforts for ceasefire and liberation of hostages

In a statement released on 6 November, the head of the Bishops’ Conference (CBCEW) international affairs department, Bishop Declan Lang, and Bishop Nicholas Hudson, chair of the Holy Land Co-ordination, urged the British government to make “diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages and the facilitation of humanitarian aid so that desperately needed food, water, fuel, and medical supplies can be safely delivered into Gaza.”

Closeness to brothers and sisters in Gaza

The Bishops expressed their ongoing closeness to the “brothers and sisters across the Holy Land, particularly those sheltering in the Parish of the Holy Family in Gaza along with those in the West Bank.”

They called on the Catholic Community in England and Wales, to join them in prayer for those in the Holy Land, in particular for those who have been taken hostage, those who have been killed or injured, and their families.

They also prayed “for those in positions of power and authority” so they may “receive the wisdom to guide them into ways of peace and justice.”

Christian organizations' initiatives for peace in the Holy Land

The CBCEW’s statement follows a petition for a ceasefire handed in to the Foreign Office last week by CAFOD, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Christian Aid and other organizations, which collected 300,000 signatures.

Pax Christi England and Wales is also campaigning for peace in the Holy Land. The Catholic movement is suggesting a number of actions, including lighting a candle each evening and praying  for an end to the war and justice for all in the region; organising peace vigils in  schools, parishes or communities, ordering Prayer Cards to give out, and writing to MPs. Other initiatives can be found on its website.

Friends of the Holy Land, a UK-based Christian charity which offers support the Christian community in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan through prayer and practical projects, is supporting the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem. Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa has appealed for donations for his diocese as it reaches out to people in Gaza and others suffering the consequences of the war in the Holy Land.

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08 November 2023, 16:15