Jerusalem, June 11, 2021
“Peace Day for the East”: Launching the annual Mass initiative
Your Excellencies, dear brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear religious and consecrated persons,
Dear faithful Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the Lord give you His Peace!
On the occasion of celebrating the 130th jubilee of “Rerum Novarum” the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891, concerning “Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor”; the Episcopal Committee “Justice and Peace” which emanates from the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in the Middle East, has launched the annual Mass initiative which will be celebrated during the “Peace Day for the East” (Journée de la paix pour l'Orient), for this year on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 10:00 am.
It has been decided that a Mass should be celebrated in each one of the countries belonging to the Council of the Catholic Patriarchs in the Middle East, and thus all the patriarchs and bishops are invited to participate in this intense prayer, and to be in a profound Communion of prayer together during this blessed day.
On the occasion of the Year of Saint Joseph, we will also proceed in the consecration of our beloved Middle East to the Holy Family, and for this reason, a special gesture will be included in the Mass which will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 10:00 am, with the participation of all the Ordinaries of the Holy Land. We will bless a specially painted Icon of the Holy Family inlaid with relics from the same Basilica of the Annunciation. The icon represents the painting of the Holy Family of Nazareth, which rests above the altar of St Joseph Church, in Nazareth, where, according to tradition, the Carpenter’s house was.
Once blessed, the Icon will go on a pilgrimage, starting from Lebanon, to the countries of the East, until its arrival to Rome towards the end of the year of St. Joseph, on December 8, 2021. From Rome, the Icon will travel back to the Holy Land where it will remain.
In Rome as well, the Holy Father Pope Francis will give his special Apostolic Blessing for the “Peace Day for the East”.
You are all invited thus to participate through your presence, and if not possible, through your communion with us in prayer, each one from his home Parish or convent, to implore the Mercy of God and His Peace on this beloved Middle East, where the Christian faith is born and still alive, despite the sufferings.
Yours in Christ,
† Pierbattista Pizzaballa
President of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land
Latin patriarch of Jerusalem
Act of Consecration of the East to the Holy Family
"We resort to your protection, Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in the midst of the political and economic crises that have accumulated around us, citizens of the Middle East.
We resort to your protection, O Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, amid the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, which has created a state of instability, fear and anxiety.
We resort to your protection, O Family of Nazareth, you who experienced hardship with faith, hope and love, in order to dedicate our East and our countries to you completely, and entrust our lives and our homelands, our fears and hopes, our children, our youth and our families, so that every family may become a domestic church and a school of holiness.
O Holy Family, seek from God for the Middle East the blessing of emerging from these stifling conditions and attaining the return of peace and stability, so that its citizens may live equal in rights and duties, and enjoy a free and dignified life, regardless of their religious and national affiliation.
O Holy Family, may your tender look be upon us, upon our families and upon our countries , so that we may open ourselves to the signs of God’s presence as you opened yourself with absolute fidelity, so that our hearts open to each other and to the dimensions of the entire world, thus we all become one family, living in peace, love and harmony.
With Saint Ephrem, we pray to you, O Lord: Make reconciliation between peoples complete in our time, so that they may be truly one people. Gather your children in your bosom, so that they may give thanks for your goodness. If all the sons of light were united, their unified rays would remove the darkness, through the strength of their unity.
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we confidently place this, our prayer, and the consecration of our East in your hands. To the Most Holy Trinity be thanks and praise, now and forever, Amen."