Vatican City, 7 September 2014 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Pope launched an appeal for peace in Ukraine. “In recent days, significant steps have been taken to reach a truce in the regions affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, even though today we have received news that gives little cause for comfort”, he said.
“However”, he added, “I hope that this may bring relief to the population and contribute to efforts towards lasting peace. Let us pray that, in the logic of encounter, the dialogue that has begun may continue and bear the hoped-for fruit. Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us”.
He also joined the bishops of Lesotho in making a plea for peace in their country. “I condemn every act of violence and pray to the Lord that the peace may be re-established in the Kingdom of Lesotho, in justice and fraternity”.
Pope Francis also recalled that this Sunday a convoy of thirty Italian Red Cross volunteers leaves for Iraq, headed for the area of Dohuk near Erbil, where there are tens of thousands of displaced Iraqis. “I express my heartfelt appreciation for this generous and valid work, and impart my blessing to all of them and all those who seek to offer concrete assistance to our persecuted and oppressed brothers. May the Lord bless you”.
Finally, he commented that on Monday will be the liturgical feast of the Nativity of Mary. “It means it would be her birthday. And what do we do when our it is our mother's birthday? We greet her and offer her our best wishes. Tomorrow remember, in the early morning, to greet the Virgin from your heart, and say to her, 'Best wishes!'. And say a Hail Mary from your heart, as a son or a daughter”.