Universal: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.
Evangelization: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.
Pope Expresses Solidarity with Families in Iraq and Nigeria
Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) Pope Francis has a constant concern for the situation of Christian families and other groups of victims who have been expelled from their homes and villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and the Nineveh plains, many of whom have taken refuge in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Pope prays for them and hopes they can return and resume their lives in the lands and places where they have lived and built good relationships for hundreds of years.
In this coming Holy Week, these families are sharing together with Christ the unjust violence of which they have been made victims, participating in the suffering of Christ himself.
In a desire to be close to these families, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is returning to Iraq as a sign of nearness, affection, and unity in prayer with them.
The families of the Diocese of Rome, united with their bishop in the feeling of nearness and solidarity with these families, through a special collection in the parishes, are sending the traditional Easter cakes in the shape of a dove (colomba cake) to share the joy of Easter and as a herald of good based on the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.
The Holy Father, moreover, makes himself present in a concrete way with a tangible sign of solidarity. Not wanting to forget the suffering of the families in northern Nigeria either, he has also sent a similar sign of solidarity through the local Bishops? Conference.
Appeal for an end to the persecution of Christians
Vatican City, 15 March 2015 (VIS) – “It is with great sorrow that I have learned of the terrorist attacks on two churches in the city of Lahore, Pakistan today, which have caused many deaths and casualties. They are Christian churches. Christians are persecuted. Our brothers shed blood solely because they are Christians. While I assure my prayers for the victims and for their families, I ask the Lord, I implore the Lord, the source of all good, to grant the gift of peace and harmony to the country. May this persecution of Christians, that the world seeks to conceal, come to an end, and may there be peace,” said the Holy Father following today's Angelus prayer.
Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to the population of Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean, devastated by a cyclone. “I pray for the deceased, for the injured, and for those who have lost their homes,” he said, “and I give thanks to those who have taken rapid action to bring aid and assistance."