LEICESTER, United Kingdom – At the start of Holy Week, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh – and Primate of All Ireland – said, “There is no better time for people of all faith traditions to unite in a great cry for peace, justice, and dignity for all.”

The archbishop invited everyone to find some time for prayer and reflection as the Church enters into Holy week – which occurs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

“We journey alongside Jesus, who entered Jerusalem to the crowds singing ‘Hosanna’, but who, within days, faced an angry mob shouting ‘crucify him; crucify him’!” Martin said.

The archbishop said this year in particular, “as we journey through Holy Week with our Suffering Savior” the Church in Ireland is conscious of the “immense calamity and pain” in so many parts of the world – especially in Gaza, Israel and Ukraine – and of the urgent need for an end to violence and war.

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“I invite everyone in Ireland to redouble their prayers and efforts this coming week for peace in our world, including for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” Martin said.

At their general meeting on March 5, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland appealed for a complete ceasefire in Gaza, saying “Stop the War!”

The bishops’ conference called for the Israeli government to comply with basic human and international standards in ensuring that Palestinians have full and unimpeded access to food, water and basic safety requirements.

At the same time, the bishops called on Hamas to release all hostages and to end missile attacks on Israel. They also condemned Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which the bishops noted does not command as much attention in the public sphere.

In January, Both Irish Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops issued a statement saying they were “disturbing and sad” to see protesters and Irish police clash over asylum seekers – many of them from Ukraine – in the country.

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In his Palm Sunday statement, Martin noted Christians mark Holy Week as Muslims continue their holy month of Ramadan, and as Jews prepare for the celebration of Passover.

“There is no better time for people of all faith traditions to unite in a great cry for peace, justice, and dignity for all,” the archbishop said.

“We are an Easter people which means that we live not only in hope of our own salvation but also in the knowledge of our co-responsibility to protect humanity and to work for the freedom and flourishing of all,” Martin said.

“The coming ceremonies of Holy Week and Easter will be celebrated in parishes all across Ireland and I encourage people to make a special effort this year to attend some or all of these, linking ourselves with the suffering of Jesus and connecting our prayers with the reality of ongoing suffering in the world today,” he said.

“The resurrection of Jesus Christ reminds us that violence, hatred and division do not conquer, but that the last word belongs to the ‘King of Love’ who gave his life for us on Calvary,” the archbishop said.

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