Francis led a prayer service for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. May the Lord “protect children who suffer from conflicts in which they have no part, but which rob them of their childhood and at times of life itself. How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children!”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis led a prayer service in St Peter’s Basilica Thursday afternoon for peace “in all lands devastated by war”, especially South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Songs in Swahili accompanied the service during which the pope said that a visit to South Sudan “did not prove possible. Yet, we know that prayer is more important, because it is more powerful: prayer works by the power of God, for whom nothing is impossible.
Francis focused on women and children, victims of war, when he asked the Lord to “comfort those women who are the victims of violence in war zones and throughout the world.
“May he protect children who suffer from conflicts in which they have no part, but which rob them of their childhood and at times of life itself. How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children! Here war shows its most horrid face.
“May the Lord help all the little ones and the poor of our world to continue to believe and trust that the kingdom of God is at hand, in our midst, and is “justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). May he sustain all those who day by day strive to combat evil with good, and with words and deeds of fraternity, respect, encounter and solidarity.”
“May the Lord strengthen in government officials and all leaders a spirit which is noble, upright, steadfast and courageous in seeking peace through dialogue and negotiation.
“May the Lord enable all of us to be peacemakers wherever we find ourselves, in our families, in school, at work, in the community, in every setting. “Let us wash the feet” of one another, in imitation of our Master and Lord.”
At the end of the celebration, the Holy Father blessed two statues of the Virgin Mary that will be sent to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a token of brotherhood and mutual commitment to achieving peace with the help of the Holy Mother of God.