Pope to MidEast Christians: May the Lord Give You Courage

Also Gives Thanks to Italian Navy, Greets Sick Children, at Weekly General Audience

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Pope Francis today reminded Arab-speaking faithful, particularly those from Syria and the Middle East, that the Church, following the example of her Master, excels in mercy.

“She faces hatred with love, vanquishes violence with forgiveness, and responds to weapons with prayer,” he said during his weekly general audience.

He added, “May the Lord reward your faithfulness, inspire you with courage in the struggle against the forces of evil, and open the eyes of those who have been blinded by evil, so that they may soon see the light of truth and repent for the mistakes they have made.

“May the Lord bless you and protect you always,” he said.

The Holy Father also greeted the officers and members of the Italian naval forces who participate in the operation “Mare Nostrum”, assisting migrants and refugees who attempt to cross the Mediterranean. “I give thanks for your admirable work in the aid of so many of our brethren in search of hope”, he said.

Before the general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father greeted a group of sick people, mostly children, who were not able to attend the audience in St. Peter’s Square. He thanked them all for their visit and asked them to pray for him. “I ask you to pray for me. Don’t forget! Pray so that I can continue my work. I will pray for all of you and for the children. And so, together, let us pray to the Virgin to bless us”, he exclaimed. After praying a Hail Mary with those present, Francis wished them a good day and encouraged them to persevere with hope.

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