Pope Francis Easter Message
Celebrating the third Easter of his pontificate, Pope Francis spoke from the central balcony in a drizzling St. Peter’s Square after saying a Mass for tens of thousands of people wearing plastic ponchos and holding umbrellas.
Pope Francis in his message, said “We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for His name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence – and there are many”.
Attacks on Christians in Africa and the Middle East have been the unattractive backdrop of all Holy Week ceremonies leading up to Easter.
He commemorated the students massacred by Islamist militants at Garissa University in Kenya.
In Libya, where Islamic State (IS) militants beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians last February, he called for peace and also for an end to “the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence”.
He further prayed for peace in Iraq and Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, and Nigeria, where Boko Haram had also launched attacks on Christian churches.
“We ask 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.
“We ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers, who make their money from the blood of men and women,” he said.
Just about the only positive part in the pope’s address was a reference to the deal reached in Switzerland last week between Iran and the international community on a framework for a nuclear accord.
Referencing the deal reached in Switzerland last week between Iran and the international community on a framework for a nuclear accord, Pope Francis said “In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step towards a more secure and fraternal world”.