Gaza parish priest received two calls from Pope Francis amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, where Israeli raids followed the Hamas attacks.
In a report by Vatican News, Father Gabriel Romanelli spoke about the two phone calls he received from the Pope since Saturday.
Fr. Romanelli, currently in Bethlehem, remains in constant contact with his parishioners.
“He called me a few minutes ago,” he said. “The Pope expressed his support and offered prayers.”
Fr. Romanelli conveyed gratitude for the Pope’s call for a ceasefire, urging an end to violence, terrorism, and war.
The pontiff expressed a desire to directly connect with the community through Fr. Romanelli’s vicar to assist those seeking refuge in the parish amid the ongoing conflict.
The Catholic community in Gaza is grappling with the impact of the conflict, with around 150 residents losing their homes or seeking safety from the bombardments.
While the raids have affected the entire area, there have been no reported casualties or damages within the Christian community.
Across Gaza, the conflict has resulted in over 770 reported deaths and 4,000 injuries by Tuesday, following Israeli raids in response to the Hamas attacks on October 7.
Pope Francis reached out to the parish priest again on Monday, inquiring about the well-being of the people and the parish, and he extended his blessing to ensure the closeness of the Church is felt by all.
Over the past 15 years, Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have led to the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, including women, children, and the elderly.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, before the recent attacks, at least 6,400 Palestinians and 308 Israelis died due to the conflict from 2008 to 2023.