Ask God for the Gift of Peace

The words of Margaret Karram at the Synod about the situation in the Holy Land

Margaret Karram speaks during the Synod roundtables in the Paul VI Hall | Vatican News

October 27, 2023
3 min read

Margaret Karram is an Israeli Arab born in Haifa in 1962. Elected president of the Focolare Movement in January 2021, she was named by Pope Francis as one of nine special guests to the Synod on Synodality. 

The spirituality of unity that characterizes Focolare aims to contribute to the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer “that all my be one” (John 17:21) by promoting dialogue within the Catholic Church, among Christian Churches, as well as among adherents of other religious traditions and with people of good will who hold no religious beliefs. 

As we continue to pray for peace in the Holy land, we share some of the remarks made by Margaret Karram at the October 12 press briefing of the Synod on Synodality. 

“I asked myself what am I doing here [at the Synod]? Should I not do something else to promote peace at this time? But then I said to myself: Here too I can join Pope Francis’ call and everyone’s prayer. Listening to others with respect, beyond different opinions, can also help us at a higher level to build bridges of peace.

“A short while ago, a Jewish friend called me. She told me: ‘From now on I have decided that I will pray at the same time as my Muslim friends. Even if there are many things that divide us, I will do it with a deep heartbreak because I know that, at this moment, I am united with them, at least in prayer.’

“Everyone knows the negative stories between these two peoples, but so many people, so many organizations are working to build bridges and nobody talks about them."

“We can ask God for the gift of peace. Many steps can be taken for peace, but I believe in the power of prayer. Yesterday some members of our movement in Ukraine joined in prayer via Zoom with people in the Holy Land and Italy. With the schools of the Living Peace project around the world, we asked the children and young people to do three things: Join everyone in prayer at noon Rome time if possible, perform concrete acts of solidarity towards someone of another religion, and write an appeal for peace to political leaders.

“Amid the ocean of suffering, these deeds look like a puny drop, but at least they are concrete acts. Even Jewish friends I know in Israel have called me, a Palestinian Arab, saying that they are worried about those who live in Gaza. For me, this is a very beautiful thing. 

“Everyone knows the negative stories between these two peoples, but so many people, so many organizations are working to build bridges and nobody talks about them. We only talk about hatred, division, terrorism. We have collective images of these two peoples that do not correspond to reality. We must not forget that even today many people are working to build bridges. A seed is being sown even at this difficult hour.”

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