Pope Francis has been a vocal advocate for peace in the Middle East throughout his pontificate. During a Mass in St. Peter's Square April 8 he condemned the chemical attack in Syria, saying that "nothing can justify" the use of chemical weapons on "defenseless people and populations."
Earlier in April, during his Easter Urbi et Orbi message, he also prayed for Syria, pleading for "fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war."
He also prayed that during the Easter season, Christ would "illuminate" the consciences of political and military leaders, "so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course."
Tuesday, the pope prayed the rosary before the image of Our Lady of the Miracle at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love, before greeting the 24 residents of a retirement home.
He also greeted mothers and children living in a house on sanctuary property, and run by the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Love.
The pope then greeted Catholics gathered outside the church, gave his blessing, and led the 'Hail Mary.' The visit to the popular Roman shrine was Francis' first.