Pope Francis sent a message to the annual National Prayer Breakfast held today in Washington, DC, and attended by US President Barack Obama, lawmakers from both parties, and thousands of guests, including the Dalai Lama.
According to Vatican Radio, a portion of the Holy Father’s message was read during the event, which has taken place since 1953.
“Dear friends, I send prayerful good wishes for you, for the fruitfulness of your work,” reads the message.
“I ask you to pray for me, and to join me in praying for our brothers and sisters throughout the world who experience persecution and death for their faith,” continued Pope Francis.
“Upon you, your families, and those whom you serve, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of wisdom, joy, and peace.”
The full contents of the text was scheduled to be read at the lunch portion of the event.
Obama in his address condemned the actions of the Islamic State, in the context of a more broad condemnation of violence in the name of religion.
“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”