“Pope Francis assured us that we are in his prayers and that he knows the suffering we are enduring.”
Sister Nabila Saleh of the Rosary Sisters of Jerusalem shared that summary of a phone call received from Pope Francis on Monday night.
The religious sister serves in the Holy Family Parish, the only Latin rite parish in Gaza.
In an interview with Vatican News, Sister Saleh said the Pope called the parish priest, Fr. Yusuf, who then handed her the phone “so I could speak directly with the Pope since [the priest] does not speak Italian very well.”
Pope’s concern for people of Gaza
She said Pope Francis wanted to know how many people are sheltering in the parish’s facilities.
“There are about 500 people, including the sick, families, children, the disabled, people who have lost their homes and belongings,” she said. “It was a great blessing to be able to speak with him. He gave us courage and support in prayer.”
Sr. Saleh asked the Pope to make an appeal for peace and told him that Catholics in Gaza are offering their sufferings “for an end to the war, for peace, for the needs of the Church, and for the ongoing Synod.”
“Our parishioners were very pleased,” she said. “They know that the Pope is working for peace and for the good of the Christian community in Gaza.”
Mutual support in times of trial
Asked about the situation in Gaza, Sr. Saleh said people are trying to support each other as much as possible in their difficulties and are praying earnestly for peace.
“Every day we have two Masses,” she said. “We also always pray the Rosary with the children and their families.”
On Sunday evening, the parish priest celebrated Mass and baptized a child into the Christian faith.
“The mother was afraid that something bad might happen and asked to baptize her son,” she said. “It was a moment of spiritual resurrection and rebirth for all of us.”
Appeal for peace and justice
Sr. Saleh wrapped up the interview with an appeal for peace and justice in Palestine.
“We want peace because war does no one any good. We want this brutal war to end,” she said. “Many people have lost their loved ones, their homes, and everything they have. We ask for justice: justice and peace. The Palestinian people also have the right to live. We ask not to punish the population because of a fanatic group. And then we ask that you pray for us.”