Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi S.J. has announced that Pope Francis canceled his meetings today in order to rest following prayer for peace in the Vatican gardens last evening.
“Pope Francis canceled the meetings of the second part of the morning because of a minor indisposition,” the spokesman told journalists in a June 9 press conference, noting that “yesterday the Pope was very tired because of the prayer for peace in the Middle East.”
Fr. Lombardi revealed that the Pope celebrated Mass in the Saint Martha guesthouse at 7 a.m. as usual, and afterward met with Australian Cardinal George Pell, prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy.
However, his meeting with the Italian Superior Council of the Magistracy, the largest Italian governmental body, will be re-scheduled for a later date in order to allow the pontiff to rest.
Last night’s prayer in the Vatican between Pope Francis, the presidents of Israel and Palestine, and the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, was proposed by the Roman Pontiff during his visit to the Holy Land last month.
Joining together in the Vatican gardens for the unprecedented “Invocation for Peace,” the three leaders prayed in English, Italian, Hebrew and Arabic, and each offered their own words expressing the desire of their people for peace.
“This meeting of prayer for peace in the Holy Land, in the Middle East and in the entire world is accompanied by the prayers of countless people of different cultures, nations, languages and religions,” Pope Francis noted during the event, “they have prayed for this meeting and even now they are united with us in the same supplication.”
“It is a meeting which responds to the fervent desire of all who long for peace and dream of a world in which men and women can live as brothers and sisters and no longer as adversaries and enemies.”
“Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare,” the pontiff remarked, encouraging those in attendance to “break the spiral of hatred and violence” with the word “brother.”