By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 April, 2015
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis prayed especially for countries dogged by conflict in his Urbi et Orbi message to 50,000 people packed into St Peter’s Square and those who watched via television or the internet.
Following Mass to celebrate Easter, the Pontiff gave the traditional Blessing Urbi et Orbi – to the City of Rome and to the World.
In his short address, Pope Francis prayed especially for the students massacred by Islamist militants at Garissa University in Kenya.
“We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees,” the Pope said.
Elsewhere in his address, he also prayed for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. “May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division,” the Argentine Pope prayed.
“We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the future of the country may work to favour reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person.”
“For Yemen too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people.”
“At the same time, in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”
“We ask the risen Lord for the gift of peace for Nigeria, South Sudan and for the various areas of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives – I think in particular of the young people who were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya –, for all who have been kidnapped, and for those forced to abandon their homes and their dear ones.”
“May the Lord’s resurrection bring light to beloved Ukraine, especially to those who have endured the violence of the conflict of recent months. May the country rediscover peace and hope thanks to the commitment of all interested parties.”
Pope Francis also prayed for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups.
“Peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers, who are often allied with the powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the human family. And we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers,” he prayed on Sunday.
He concluded by praying that the marginalised, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants “who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and all men and women of goodwill, hear the consoling voice of the Lord Jesus: “Peace to you!” (Lk 24:36)”.