The Pope appealed for practical efforts and prayers to help bring about 'peaceful coexistence in the Middle East' when he received 100 participants in the nnual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO) yesterday. The Holy Father thanked them for the service they have been carrying out since 1968, "supporting the pastoral, educational and charitable activities and meeting the urgent needs" of those Churches. Referring to the community of Eastern Catholic Churches in the Holy Land, the Pope recalled how "the serious difficulties it is going though because of profound insecurity, lack of work, innumerable restrictions and consequent growing poverty, are a cause of pain for us all. "It is a situation that makes the educational, professional and family future of young generations extremely uncertain, unfortunately tempting them to leave forever the beloved land of their birth. This also happens in other areas of the Middle East, such as Iraq and Iran, which also benefit providentially from your generous kindness." In order to face these serious problems, Pope Benedict went on, "our prime and fundamental duty is that of persistent and faithful prayer to the Lord, Who never abandons his children in times of trial. This should be associated with activities of fraternal solicitude, in order to find new and at times unexpected ways to meet the needs of those people." "I invite pastors, faithful, and everyone in positions of responsibility in the civil community, to favour mutual respect between cultures and religions, and to create as soon as possible the conditions for serene and peaceful coexistence throughout the Middle East." Source: VIS
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