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Pope Francis appeals for release of kidnapped religious sisters in Nigeria

Following the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on Gaudete Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for the release of six religious sisters, who were kidnapped one month ago from their convent in Iguoriakhi, Nigeria.

Dear brothers and sisters,

I heartily join myself to the appeal fo the Bishops of Nigeria for the liberation of the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ, kidnapped roughly a month ago from their convent in Iguoriakhi. I pray with insistence for them and for all the other persons who find themselves in this painful condition: may they all, on the occasion of Christmas, finally return to their homes.

I greet all of you, families, parish groups and associations, who have come from Rome, Italy and many parts of the world. In particular I greet the group of “Lobitos” from Portugal and the group of Bolivian pilgrims. I greet the faithful of Salamanca and of Pernumia (Padua).

And now I greet with affection the children who came for the blessing of the "Bambinelli", organized by the Centro Oratori Romani (Roman Oratories Center). Dear children, I thank you for your joyful presence and I wish you a happy Christmas! When you pray at home with your family, in front of the nativity scene, let yourselves be drawn to the tenderness of the Child Jesus, who was born among us poor and fragile, to give us His love. This is the real Christmas. If we take away Jesus, what remains of Christmas? A party with nothing to celebrate.

I wish everyone a good Sunday, therefore, and a good journey towards the Nativity of Jesus. Please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch, and we’ll see you soon.

17 December 2017, 12:25