10/12/2008, 00.00
VATICAN - INDIA - IRAQ

Pope: I pray every day for the Christians in Iraq and India

Benedict XVI invites the Indian faithful to rejoice in the new saint canonized today, and demands that the authors of violence in Orissa and in other states of India renounce "these acts" and work together to build the civilization of love. The pope calls for the recitation of the Rosary on behalf of reconciliation and peace in North Kivu, and of the work of the synod underway at the Vatican.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - At the end of the canonization Mass for four new saints, including the first Indian woman saint, Benedict XVI recalled today the "violence against Christians in Iraq and India, whom I remember each day before the Lord."

Before the prayer of the Angelus, added at the end of the celebration, speaking in English, the pope emphasized that the "heroic virtues of patience, fortitude and perseverance in the midst of deep suffering remind us that God always provides the strength we need to overcome every trial. As the Christian faithful of India give thanks to God for their first native daughter to be presented for public veneration, I wish to assure them of my prayers during this difficult time. Commending to the providential care of Almighty God those who strive for peace and reconciliation, I urge the perpetrators of violence to renounce these acts and join with their brothers and sisters to work together in building a civilization of love. God bless you all!"

After greeting the pilgrims who came to celebrate the other canonized saints, the pontiff recalled that October is the month of the Rosary. And he added: "In this regard, I invite you to pray for reconciliation and peace in certain situations provoking alarm and great suffering: I think of the people of North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and of the violence against Christians in Iraq and India, whom I recall each day before the Lord. Let us also invoke the protection of Mary, Queen of Saints, over the work of the synod of bishops meeting at the Vatican in these days."

In Iraq, especially in the area of Mosul, there has been an escalation in recent days of the fundamentalist and terrorist persecution against Christians.

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