POPE REPEATS REQUEST FOR PRAYERS FOR BETHLEHEM

VATICAN, Apr 24, 02 (CWNews.com) -- At the conclusion
of his regular public audience on Wednesday, Pope John
Paul II repeated his plea for the faithful to pray for
a peaceful solution to the stalemate between Israeli
and Palestinian forces at the Church of the Nativity in
Bethlehem.

"My thoughts are constantly turned to the Church of the
Nativity," the Pope said. He observed that the
conditions facing the Franciscan friars and nuns inside
the church compound, "already quite serious due to lack
of water and food, have been further aggravated by the
break in telephone communications." On Tuesday, friars
inside the church had warned that their cell-phone
batteries were running down, threatening to close off
their last method of communication with the outside
world after 22 days of siege.

"We continue to pray to the Lord that a solution to
this inhuman situation may be found," the Pope said.

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