An inside look at Pope Francis' second day in Kazakhstan
By Deborah Castellano Lubov - Nur-Sultan
Within hours of arriving on Kazakh soil and immediately appealing to authorities to always protect religious freedom and human rights, Pope Francis - along with renowned religious leaders gathered together in Nur-Sultan - appealed for peace in a world stricken by war.
With the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis on Tuesday kicked off his 38th Apostolic Journey to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, marking the 57th country he has visited since the start of his pontificate.
The Pope accepted his visit to the Central Asian nation south of Russia for the occasion of the 7th Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, discussing the role of religious leaders in a post-pandemic world.
At the event on Wednesday, the Pope gave a discourse and partook in a moment of private prayer with the other religions.
In his remarks, the Pope suggested that there will never be happiness as long as one religion goes against another, and underscored, once again, the necessity to protect religious freedom and human dignity.
Some time was also allocated for religious leaders to speak with one another privately.
The Pope came as a "pilgrim of peace" for this visit focused on peace, unity, and interreligious dialogue.
Another beautiful moment was dedicated to the Catholics of the country, who make up less than 1% of the population.
During the Holy Mass, the Pope encouraged their faith, along with that of the many others who had made special trips to see him from Central Asia.
He told them to always turn to Jesus, and remembered the country's period of religious persecution under the Communist Regime, before gaining its independence from the Soviet Union.
Despite recent days in the Kazakh capital with rain and drizzle, the Mass instead enjoyed warmth and the sun's subtle closeness.
The Holy Father also made an appeal regarding the war in Ukraine, calling for peace and insisting we must never grow accustomed to the conflict.
After Mass, the Pope traveled to the Apostolic Nunciature where he will stay for the duration of his trip.
Pope Francis will conclude his time in Kazakhstan on Thursday.