The news in the last 24 hours - with regard to Syria (a proposed deployment of missile batteries to Turkey and concerns that the Syrian regime might use chemical weapons) and with regard to Israel/the Palestinian Territories (the challenge to long term negotiations represented by the building of Israeli settlements) - suggests that the need for this act of solidarity with the people of the Middle East is more urgent than ever.
The Bishops Conference website has a page devoted to the theme: Day of Prayer for the Middle East.
St John Damascene or St John of Damascus (Priest and Doctor of the Church
St John was born about 675 in Damascus (Syria) and died near Jerusalem about 749. He is understood to have followed his father as a Christian official in a Moslem government. Later he became a monk and later Priest at Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem, where he was renowned as a theologian and biblical commentator. He is remembered for his vigorous defence of the veneration of images against the iconoclasts, for his theological writings synthesising the thought of the Greek Fathers, and for his poetry and hymnody.
O God of peace, who are peace itself
and whom a spirit of discord cannot grasp,
nor a violent mind receive,
grant that those who are one in heart
may persevere in what is good
and that those in conflict
may forget evil and so be healed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
St John Damascene, pray for us.
Prayer text from Roman Missal © 2010 ICEL