The bombarded city of Izuym in Ukraine The bombarded city of Izuym in Ukraine  (ANSA)

Pope appeals for prayers for victims of war

At the General Audience, Pope Francis calls for prayers for the innocent victims of all wars and the mothers of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine, and remembers the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

By Lisa Zengarini

Greeting the Italian pilgrims gathered in St. Peters Square on Wednesday for his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to those who have been killed in war.

May the hearts of all be converted

“As the Church celebrates the Holy Week, commemorating the Passion of Christ, I remember in particular the victims of war crimes”, he said, inviting the faithful to pray for them, while raising a a plea to God “so that the hearts of all may be converted."

Prayers for mothers of soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine

Recalling the figure of Mary at the feet of the Cross, Pope Francis also invited to pray for the mothers of the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers killed in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Looking at Mary, Our Lady, in front of the Cross, my thoughts go to the mothers: to the mothers of the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers who died in the war. They are mothers of dead children. Let us pray for these mothers.”

Pope remembered the innocent victims of wars also in his address to the Arabic-speaking pilgrims.

“As Easter approaches let’s keep in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor and  the marginalized, also remembering the innocent victims of wars, so that Christ with His Resurrection may grant everyone peace, consolation and blessings. May the Lord bless them all and protect them from all harm.”

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

In his address to the Italian pilgrims the Pope further recalled the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which is observed  annually on 6 April.

The day was established by the UN General Assembly in 2013 to celebrate the contribution of sports and physical activity to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world.

The theme chosen for this year’s observance is “Scoring for People and the Planet” highlighting the positive impact and influence of sport on sustainable development and peace.

The Pope expressed hope that the theme may help deepen the commitment to solidarity and to fostering “attitudes of friendship and fraternal sharing” in the world.

Prayers for martyred Ukraine

Concluding the Audience, Pope Francis  called again for prayers for “martyred Ukraine.”

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05 April 2023, 11:15