Pope asks for prayers for Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel

Pope Francis urges the faithful “go to the crib” this Christmas, and “ask Jesus for peace.”

By Joseph Tulloch

Speaking after his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis asked for prayers for Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel.

“Please, let us think about Palestine, about Israel. Let us think about Ukraine … tormented Ukraine, which is suffering so much.”

The Pope gestured toward the Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See, Andrii Yurash, who was in attendance, noting that “His Excellency the Ambassador is here.”

“Let us not forget the peoples who suffer the evil of war,” Pope Francis said. “Wars are always a defeat. Let us not forget this. A defeat. Only arms manufacturers gain.”

Jesus, Prince of Peace

In his catechesis at this Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis had reflected on the significance of nativity scenes.

He emphasized the connection between the Nativity scene and work for peace, imploring the faithful to “go to the crib and ask Jesus for peace. He is the Prince of Peace.”

Earlier in the audience, during his greeting to the Portuguese-speaking faithful, the Pope had noted that “In these days, we will see God lying in a manger”, and stressed that “this is the strongest message of peace for the life of each one of us and for the world today.”

Saving lives in the Mediterranean

In his message at the end of the General Audience, Pope Francis also extended a greeting to a group of individuals from Mediterranea Saving Humans, an organization working to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe.

“I also greet the group of Mediterranea Saving Humans,” the Pope said, “who are here, and who go out to sea to save the poor people fleeing slavery in Africa.”

“They do a great job,” he stressed, “they save a lot of people. So many people.”