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Palm Sunday Prayer Amidst War in Gaza, Pope Condemns Moscow Attack

In the midst of conflict, the faithful gathered solemnly for Palm Sunday prayers outside Gaza’s lone Catholic church, seeking solace and peace amidst the chaos of war.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis extended prayers to the victims of the recent concert hall attack in Moscow, denouncing the violence as “inhuman acts” that defy the teachings of God.

Russia observed a national day of mourning following the devastating massacre claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, which left 137 people dead, marking the deadliest attack in Europe.

President Vladimir Putin vowed swift justice for those responsible, announcing the arrest of four gunmen attempting to flee to Ukraine. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vehemently denied any involvement, accusing Putin of deflecting blame.

In a statement following a Palm Sunday mass in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis expressed solidarity with the victims and their families, urging for a conversion of hearts among those perpetrating such senseless violence.

Meanwhile, in Gaza’s Holy Family Church, worshippers gathered for Palm Sunday services amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis plaguing the region. Despite the tranquility within the church’s courtyard, the reality of the conflict loomed large beyond its gates.

Inside, parishioners dressed in their Sunday best listened attentively as prayers for peace echoed throughout the wooden pews adorned with palm fronds. Against the backdrop of war, the service offered a glimmer of hope for the congregation and the world at large.

However, the specter of conflict loomed heavily over the congregation, with many bearing drawn faces after months of relentless violence. As heavy combat continues to ravage the region, urgent action is needed to prevent further suffering, with the United Nations warning of an impending famine in Gaza’s northern area by May without immediate intervention.

Reflecting on the gravity of the situation, Sister Nabila Saleh of the Holy Family church remarked, “This year, we don’t have the heart to celebrate. It’s true that we decorated, but we don’t feel the joy of other years.”

Amidst the backdrop of conflict and devastation, the faithful cling to hope and prayers for peace, seeking solace amidst the turmoil that grips the region.

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