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TO: ALlLPastors

FROM: Archbishop William J. LEVADA
Decemer 7, 2000

Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land

In conjunction with the adoption of a statement on peace in the Middle East, Bishop Joseph Fisrenza, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his brother bishops to invite our people to join in prayer and penance asking God to guide and bless efforts for peace in the Holy Land where Christ was uorn 2000 years ago.

As I mention in my "Ordinary Time" column in Catholic San Francisco this week, I am extending this invitation to our people to pray and do penance from the beginning of Advent until the solemnity of the Epiphany (January 7, 2001) for this purpose.

May I ask you to mention this request to your people in the way that seems best suited to your parish situation. In particular, I ask that this intention be included in the Intercessory Prayers at Masses during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

In addition, Bishop Fiorenga has proposed a voluntary penance of abstaining from meat and of fasting on the Fridays this period.

May this time of prayer, fasting and abstinence unite us in spirit as we join our actions to the invitation of the psalmist, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122).