Loading
Pope urges Egyptian Christians to 'Be strong, do not fear!'
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the episcopal ordination of Bishop Fernando Vergez on Nov. 15, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the episcopal ordination of Bishop Fernando Vergez on Nov. 15, 2013 Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA
by Elise Harris
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope Francis concelebrated his daily Mass this morning with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, offering prayers for peace, and renewing his call for religious freedom throughout the Middle East.

“‘Be strong, do not fear!’ Here are the consoling words that find their confirmation in fraternal solidarity,” the Pope stated during his Dec. 9 homily, adding that “I am thankful to God for this encounter that gives me a way to reinforce your hope and our hope, because they are the same.”

With these words Pope Francis began the reflections of his morning Mass, which he celebrated in the Saint Martha guesthouse of the Vatican alongside Egypt’s Coptic Patriarch, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.

Immediately turning his thoughts to the Coptic Catholics in the Middle East, the pontiff recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah in the day’s first reading, stating that “We feel that the encouragement for ‘the faint of heart’ is directed to so many in your beloved land of Egypt who are experiencing insecurity and violence, sometimes because of their Christian faith.”

Moving to the Gospel reading in which a paralyzed man was lowered through the roof by his friends in order to be healed by Jesus, the Pope highlighted how the passage presents “Christ who conquers the paralysis of humanity.”

However, the Pope also noted that “the paralysis of consciences is contagious.”

“With the complicity of the poverties of history and of our sin,” he continued, this paralysis “can expand and enter into social structures and into communities to block entire peoples,” adding that on the contrary, “the command of Christ: ‘Arise, walk!’ can reverse the situation.”

“Let us pray with confidence that in the Holy Land and all the Middle East peace might be able to rise from the often recurring and sometimes dramatic breaks (in the peace process),” urged the Pope.

“Rather, let hatred and divisions be ended forever! Let the peace agreements, often paralyzed by conflicting and obscure interests, be quickly resumed.”

“Let real guarantees of religious liberty be given to all,” he went on to say, “together with the rights of Christians to live peacefully in the places where they were born, in the native country they love as citizens of more than two thousand years, in order that they might contribute as always to the good of all.”

Recalling the flight into Egypt of the infant Jesus and the Holy Family, Pope Francis emphasized that they were welcomed into a “generous land,” and prayed that the Lord “watch over the Egyptians, that along the paths of the world they might seek dignity and security.”

Bringing his reflections to a close, the pontiff encouraged those present to “always go forward, seeking the Lord, seeking new paths,” and “new ways to come closer to the Lord.”

“If it necessary to open a hole in the roof in order for us to bring everyone closer to the Lord,” he stated, “may our creative imagination of charity bring us to do this: to find and to make new paths of encounter, paths of brotherhood, paths of peace.”

Patriarch Sidrak also spoke for a moment during the Mass, expressing his joy at celebrating the Liturgy of the Eucharist with the Pope, and stressing that the Egyptian Church needs the “paternal support” of the Bishop of Rome during this sensitive time in history.

Also offering a prayer for peace, the patriarch asked that “the light of the Holy Nativity might be the star that reveals the path of love, of unity, of reconciliation, and of peace, gifts of which my Land has such great need.”

Asking for Pope Francis’ blessing, Patriarch Sidrak affirmed to the pontiff that “we eagerly await it in Egypt.”

Tags: Religious freedom, Pope, Church in Egypt, Peace, Coptic Christians

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
23

Liturgical Calendar

November 23, 2014

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:31-46

Gospel
Date
11/23/14
11/22/14
11/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Gospel:: Mt 25: 31-46

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14