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U.S.C.C.B.September 03, 2014
Bishop Pates prays during Mass of Thanksgiving for 50 years of Catholic Relief Services' presence in Holy Land. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill)

A delegation of 18 U.S. bishops will travel to the Holy Land, September 10-19, to pray for peace. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the pilgrimage, which will include visits and prayer at various holy sites in Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth and Bethlehem.

“Our pilgrimage could not come at a more critical moment,” Bishop Pates said. “The conflict between Israel and Hamas, the latest of far too many cycles of violence, has seriously eroded hope for peace in the Holy Land. Prayer for peace is needed now more than ever.”

USCCB and Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the U.S. bishops, are sponsoring the pilgrimage.

The bishops will pray alongside the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Catholics, Armenian Apostolic Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews. The bishops also follow in the footsteps of Pope Francis, who prayed for peace on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, May 24-26.

Other bishops participating in the pilgrimage are: Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Archbishop Eusebius Beltran, retired archbishop of Oklahoma City; Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California; Bishop J. Kevin Boland, retired bishop of Savannah, Georgia; Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Bishop Tod Brown, retired bishop of Orange, California; Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico; Bishop Bernard Harrington, retired bishop of Winona, Minnesota; Bishop Howard Hubbard, retired bishop of Albany, New York;Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York; Bishop William Medley of Owensboro, Kentucky; Bishop Dale Melczek of Gary, Indiana; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York; Bishop Michael Pfeifer, retired bishop of San Angelo, Texas; Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Salina, Kansas; and Bishop Robert Coyle andBishop Richard Higgins, auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Military Services.

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