The pope asked the crowd to pray a “Hail Mary” together to Our Lady of Myanmar asking that the conflict will end soon and that “a new time of forgiveness, love, and peace will begin.”
Pope Francis also said that he was joining the Peruvian bishops’ call for an end to acts of violence in the South American country.
“Violence extinguishes hope for a just solution to problems. I encourage all parties involved to take the path of dialogue between brothers of the same nation, with full respect for human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
The pope expressed hope that progress is being made toward a resolution of the conflict in English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
“I encourage all the signatory parties to the agreement to persevere on the path of dialogue and mutual understanding because the future can be planned only in encounter,” the pope said.
Pope Francis also wished a “happy new year” to all who celebrate the Lunar New Year in East Asia and other parts of the world, adding that he was thinking of “all those who are still going through moments of trial caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The pope reminded everyone that the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time is dedicated in a special way to the Word of God.
Before the Angelus, Pope Francis formally conferred the ministries of lector and catechist upon four men and six women at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God.
“Let’s rediscover with amazement the fact that God speaks to us, especially through the holy Scriptures. Let’s read them, study them, meditate on them, and pray with them. Every day we should read a passage from the Bible, especially from the Gospel. There Jesus speaks to us, enlightens us, guides us,” the pope said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.