Simona Pari and Simona Torretta had been taken hostage in Baghdad on Sept. 7.

"The Pope received with great joy the news of the liberation of the two Italian women volunteers," Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls said Tuesday.

"His thoughts went also to the families and, with them and with all persons of good will, thanks God for this gesture of humanity," added the director of the Vatican press office.

The two women, members of the group A Bridge to Baghdad, worked to help the city's people, especially children.

Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad expressed his joy on the liberation of the volunteers, as well as other hostages. But he also expressed concern over what is happening in Iraq.

"Now we continue to pray so that all the hostages will be liberated, dozens and dozens of persons kidnapped for political or financial reasons with the objective" of exacting a ransom, he said in statements on Vatican Radio. "And, obviously, we pray that peace will be attained in Iraq."