RELIGION
05/29/2014 02:03 pm ET Updated May 29, 2014

Peres-Abbas Prayer Meeting With Pope Francis At Vatican Planned For June 8

Handout via Getty Images

The Pope prayed for peace when he visited the Holy Land last week. Now, the leaders of Palestine and Israel will do the same thing at the Vatican, in a prayer meeting tentatively scheduled for June 8, on Pentecost Sunday, according to Vatican Insider.

Pope Francis extended the surprise invitation to Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres on the second day of his trip, in Bethlehem. The pope said:

In this place where the Prince of Peace was born, I desire to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to raise together with me an intense prayer to God for the gift of peace. And I offer my house in the Vatican to host you in this encounter of prayer.

Peres and Abbas immediately accepted the Pope's call to prayer.

Pope Francis elaborated on his vision for the planned meeting on the return flight from the Middle East to Rome. “The purpose of the meeting will be to pray not to mediate,” he said. “The two presidents and I will only meet to pray and I believe that prayer is important and doing this helps. Then they will go home. There will be a rabbi, a Muslim and me."

Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land, is coordinating the visit. "We’re working at it. We still don’t have a fixed date but it won’t be 6 June. It is a Friday. We will soon decide on a date and then we’l discuss the content," he said.

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