Vatican City, 27 January 2014 (VIS) – Following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father recalled that “today is World Leprosy Day; this disease, although in regression, unfortunately still affects many people causing grave suffering. It is important to maintain solidarity with these brothers and sisters”, and asked those present to assure their prayers for all those who are afflicted.
Francis prayed for those affected by the violence in Ukraine, and for little Coco Campolongo, the three-year-old boy killed last week, burned inside a car in Cassano all'Jonio.
The Pope also mentioned that, over the next few days, millions of people from the far East, including Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese, will celebrate the new lunar year. He expressed his wish to all of them for a celebration full of joy and hope.
Before greeting all the pilgrims present in the square, the Pontiff dedicated some words to Maria Cristina of Savoy, proclaimed a Blessed last Saturday in Naples. “A woman of profound spirituality and humility, she took upon herself the suffering of her people, becoming a true mother to the poor”, he said. “Her extraordinary example of charity demonstrates that the good life of the Gospel is possible in all environments and irrespective of social status”.
Finally, two young people from Catholic Action read a message of peace to the Pope, for the conclusion of the “Caravan of Peace”. Pope Francis then released two doves from the window of his study as a symbol of peace.