06/20/2013, 00.00
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Pope calls for "an end to all suffering, to all violence, to all religious, cultural and social discrimination" in Syria and the Middle East

In his plea to the annual ROACO meeting, Francis: "Continue your intelligent and caring work in realizing well-considered and coordinated projects, giving appropriate priority to formation, especially of young people. But never forget that these projects must be a profession of the love of God that constitutes the Christian identity."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The pope makes another plea for the Middle East, especially Syria, "from the depths of my heart, an appeal to the leaders of nations and of international organisations, to believers of every religion, and to women and men of good will to put an end to all suffering, to all violence, to all religious, cultural and social discrimination.

Pope Francis expressed his concerns for a "situation of insecurity and seemingly interminable violence which does not spare the innocent and most helpless" during the 86th annual assembly of the 'Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches' (ROACO) in Rome on "the situation of Christians and Churches in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and the Holy Land."

In his address, the pope stressed every Christian's need to be close and therefore show charity towards our brothers and sisters who live in the Middle East. Hence, he called upon everyone to  collaborate "in the faith and in the charity of Jesus Christ our God" (ibid.), remembering that our work will be effective only if it is rooted in faith, nourished by prayer, especially by the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of faith and charity."

"This is the first testimony we have to offer in our service to God and to [our] brothers, and it is only in this way that all of our actions will bear fruit. Continue your intelligent and caring work in realizing well-considered and coordinated projects, giving appropriate priority to formation, especially of young people. But never forget that these projects must be a profession of the love of God that constitutes the Christian identity. The Church, in the variety and richness of its component parts and its activities, does not find security in human means. The Church is of God, has confidence in His presence and in His action, and brings into the world the power of God, which is the power of love. The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente should be a precious reference for you in your service."

"The presence here today of the Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts and of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans; of the Papal Representatives in the Holy Land and in Syria; of the Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem; and of the Custody of the Holy Land, carries my heart to the Holy Places of our Redemption, but also renews in me the vivid ecclesial concern for so many brothers and sisters who live in a situation of insecurity and seemingly interminable violence which does not spare the innocent and most helpless. Constant and trusting prayer is required of us believers, that the Lord might grant the longed-for peace, joined to sharing and concrete solidarity."

"I would like to renew once more, from the depths of my heart, an appeal to the leaders of nations and of international organisations, to believers of every religion, and to women and men of good will to put an end to all suffering, to all violence, to all religious, cultural and social discrimination. The confrontation that sows death should give place to the encounter and the reconciliation that brings life. To all those who suffer I say forcefully: never lose hope! The Church is close to you, the Church walks with you and sustains you! I call upon you to do everything possible to alleviate the grave necessities of the stricken populations, especially of Syria. The beloved Syrian people . . . the ever-increasing number of refugees and displaced persons. Saint Ignatius of Antioch himself asked the Christians of Rome, "Remember in your prayers the Church in Syria . . . Jesus Christ Himself will look over it, and your charity" (Letter to the Romans, IX:I). We too, you and I, repeat, "Remember in your prayers the Church in Syria . . . Jesus Christ Himself will look over it, and your charity." I entrust the innumerable victims to the Lord of life, and I implore the Most Holy Mother of God that she might console the many people who are experiencing the "great tribulation" (Rev 7:14).

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