By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis is asking all men and women of goodwill to join him in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace for the war-torn people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan.
Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said that “Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”.
Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace
He said our prayers will be offered especially to those suffering violence in the DRC and in South Sudan, and he continued, as on other similar occasions “I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join us this initiative in whatever ways they deem most appropriate”.
Prayers for cyclone-struck Madagascar
Pope Francis also assured his closeness to the populations of Madagascar, “recently hit by a strong cyclone, which has caused victims, displaced people and wreaked extensive damage” and prayed that they may be comforted and the supported by the Lord.
New Blessed seed of hope and fraternity for the young
During his address following the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis also mentioned the Beatification on Saturday of a young man called Teresio Olivelli who was killed for his Christian faith in 1945 in Hersbruck concentration camp.
“He gave witness to Christ in his love for the weakest and he joins the long line of martyrs of the last century. His heroic sacrifice is a seed of hope and fraternity especially for the young” he said.
Day for Life in Italy
The Pope mentioned that in Italy today The Day for Life is marked on the theme “The gospel of life, joy for the world” and said he joins the Italian Bishops in expressing appreciation and encouragement to the different ecclesial realities that in many ways promote and sustain life.
Finally, amongst those whom he greeted with a specific mention, was a delegation from the Sicilian city of Agrigento to whom he expressed gratitude for its commitment to welcome and integrate migrants.