Around 1,000 students from Christian schools in Jerusalem have staged a peace walk in the footsteps of Christ along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City. Against a background of the war in Gaza, they followed the path of Jesus to his crucifixion.

The event called The Way Of The Cross – A Way of Peace involved students from Catholic, Anglican and Armenian schools. At the first eight of the 14 stations along the path, after the reading of Scripture and prayer, children released two doves as a visible sign of their prayers for peace.

They prayed to keep hearts free from hatred and the desire for revenge against those who caused harm. The Catholic News Agency reports they asked Jesus to help them build a bridge of peace and reconciliation. The priest who’s the Catholic custodian in the Holy Land and organiser of the event, said they also prayed that “those who can end the war, are guided to do so.”

“This Way of the Cross also aimed to encourage our children to remain steadfast in hope. In moments when it seems that people are unable to come to an agreement, we must knock more insistently on God’s door with our prayers, so that those who must and can provide a solution to this war may be guided back to reason,” he said.