By Paschal Norbert
CAPE TOWN, OCTOBER 18, 2023 (CISA)– Stephen Cardinal Brislin, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, has urged all the parishes in his jurisdiction to hold prayers for peace in the Holy Land.
“I ask all our parishes to hold in prayer the very troubling situation in Palestine/ Israel and the Gaza Strip. The violence, destruction and loss of life are deplorable and horrifying. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones, those who have been maimed, those who are displaced and those who have been taken hostage,” appealed Cardinal Brislin.
In a letter to all the parishes and shared with the communications office of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC), Cardinal Brislin stated the need for prayers for the Holy Land is because “the Holy Land is of special concern since it is the land so spiritually tied to our faith and is our mother Church.”
“There are many parts of the world where there is violence, war and civil strife and we should keep all of these in our prayers. However, the particular situation in the Holy Land is of special concern since it is the land so spiritually tied to our faith and is our mother Church. Furthermore, the conflict potentially has terrible international consequences and could easily lead to a frightening escalation of violence,” he said.
The cardinal advanced that “While there are those who seek facile interpretations of the conflict, there is no single narrative that captures the full context of what is presently happening in the Holy Land.”
67-year-old Brislin, made a cardinal by Pope Francis on the consistory of September 30, 2023, also called for the release of hostages and prayers “for those in Gaza who have been held under siege for so many years in what is effectively the world’s largest open-air prison. Our prayers need to accompany all who find themselves hostage.”
Cardinal Brislin elucidated, “We need to pray for the support of the many people in the Holy Land who work for a just peace. During my visits over the years, when I have sat around the table with Jewish families in Jerusalem sharing Shabbat meals or as I drank coffee with Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza and heard of their longing for liberation, I have seen how many seek a just peace. Peace will never be attained through the barrel of a gun and it is the peacemakers who keep the flame of hope alive in what seems like an increasingly dark situation.”
In July 2023, the Embassy of the State of Palestine in South Africa congratulated Archbishop Brislin on his appointment as a Cardinal, saying “Archbishop Brislin has been a staunch supporter of Palestine, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to justice and peace. His deep compassion for the oppressed Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land has been a driving force in his ministry.”