Benedict XVI Appeals for Peace in Jerusalem
In Homily at Marian Shrine

EPHESUS, Turkey, NOV. 29, 2006 ( ).- From the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary's house near Ephesus, Benedict XVI implored for peace in Jerusalem and the whole world.

"Strengthened by God's word, from here in Ephesus, a city blessed by the presence of Mary Most Holy -- who we know is loved and venerated also by Muslims -- let us lift up to the Lord a special prayer for peace between peoples," exhorted the Pope in his homily at a Mass attended by Turkish Catholics today.

The Mass was celebrated in front of the Meryem Ana Evi (House of Mother Mary) shrine about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Ephesus.

> this edge of the Anatolian peninsula, a natural bridge between continents, let us implore peace and reconciliation, above all for those dwelling in the land called 'holy' and considered as such by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike," the Holy Father said. "It is the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, destined to be the home of a people that would become a blessing for all the nations.

"Peace for all of humanity! May Isaiah's prophecy soon be fulfilled: 'They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'"

Benedict XVI continued: "We all need this universal peace; and the Church is called to be not only the prophetic herald, but even more, the 'sign and instrument' of this peace. Against the backdrop of universal peace, the yearning for full communion and concord between all Christians becomes even more profound and intense."