Amid the pain of the war, there are also encouraging signs, such as the open doors of all those families and communities that are welcoming migrants and refugees throughout Europe. May these numerous acts of charity become a blessing for our societies, at times debased by selfishness and individualism, and help to make them welcoming to all.
May the conflict in Europe also make us more concerned about other situations of conflict, suffering and sorrow, situations that affect all too many areas of our world, situations that we cannot overlook and do not want to forget.
May there be peace for the Middle East, racked by years of conflict and division. On this glorious day, let us ask for peace upon Jerusalem and peace upon all those who love her (cf. Psalm 121 ), Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. May Israelis, Palestinians and all who dwell in the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace, dwell in fraternity and enjoy free access to the Holy Places in mutual respect for the rights of each.
May there be peace and reconciliation for the peoples of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and in particular for all the Christian communities of the Middle East.
May there be peace also for Libya, so that it may find stability after years of tensions, and for
Yemen, which suffers from a conflict forgotten by all, with continuous victims: may the truce signed in recent days restore hope to its people.
We ask the risen Lord for the gift of reconciliation for Myanmar, where a dramatic scenario of hatred and violence persists, and for Afghanistan, where dangerous social tensions are not easing and a tragic humanitarian crisis is bringing great suffering to its people.
May there be peace for the entire African continent, so that the exploitation it suffers and the hemorrhaging caused by terrorist attacks – particularly in the Sahel region – may cease, and that it may find concrete support in the fraternity of the peoples. May the path of dialogue and reconciliation be undertaken anew in Ethiopia, affected by a serious humanitarian crisis, and may there be an end to violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. May prayer and solidarity not be lacking for the people in the eastern part of South Africa, struck by devastating floods.
May the risen Christ accompany and assist the people of Latin America, who in some cases have seen their social conditions worsen in these difficult times of pandemic, exacerbated as well by instances of crime, violence, corruption and drug trafficking.
Let us ask the risen Lord to accompany the journey of reconciliation that the Catholic Church in Canada is making with the indigenous peoples. May the Spirit of the risen Christ heal the wounds of the past and dispose hearts to seek truth and fraternity.
Dear brothers and sisters, every war brings in its wake consequences that affect the entire human family: from grief and mourning to the drama of refugees, and to the economic and food crisis, the signs of which we are already seeing. Faced with the continuing signs of war, as well as the many painful setbacks to life, Jesus Christ, the victor over sin, fear and death, exhorts us not to surrender to evil and violence. Brothers and sisters, may we be won over by the peace of Christ! Peace is possible; peace is a duty; peace is everyone’s primary responsibility!
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Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires. After earning a secondary school degree as a chemical technician, Bergoglio felt a call to the priesthood as a Jesuit, joining the novitiate in 1958, at the age of 22.
He was ordained a priest on Dec. 13, 1969. In 1973 he made his perpetual vows in the Society of Jesus and the same year was elected Jesuit provincial for Argentina. He would go on to serve as a seminary rector, a pastor, a professor, and a spiritual director.
In 1992 Fr. Bergoglio was consecrated an auxiliary bishop of the Buenos Aires archdiocese. He became the archdiocese’s coadjutor archbishop in 1997, and succeeded as archbishop the following year. St. John Paul II named Archbishop Bergoglio a cardinal in 2001.
As president of the Argentine bishops’ conference from 2005 to 2011, Bergoglio attended the Fifth Latin American Episcopal Conference held in Aparecida, Brazil in May 2007.
He was in charge of the drafting of the meeting’s final document, which came to be known as the Aparecida document, recognized as an important guiding document for the Church in Latin America and beyond.
On March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected to the papacy, at the age of 76. He was the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to become pope.