Vatican City, Dec 9, 2013 / 06:41 am
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."