Pope Francis has made a special appeal for those affected by devastating floods in Eastern Europe.
After giving his catechesis toward the end of Wednesday’s General Audience, the Pope said:“My thoughts go out to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, hit hard by floods” and added, “I invite you to join me in prayer for the victims and to all those who are suffering from this calamity.”
This situation has worsened, he said, and is evidenced by lives lost, people displaced, and extensive damage done.
“Do not neglect to give our brothers and sisters our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community,” the Holy Father stressed, inviting those in the square to pray a Hail Mary.
Turning to Asia, the Holy Father asked the faithful to pray that, “under the protection of the Mother Help of Christians, Catholics in China continue to believe, to hope, to love and to be, in all circumstances, a leaven of harmonious coexistence among their fellow citizens.”
He noted that May 24 marks the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.
He also discussed two upcoming beatifications taking place in Italy this weekend of Mario Vergara, a priest committed to lifelong missionary service, and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, a lay faithful catechist, killed in 1950 in Burma, because of hatred against Christians.
“Their heroic fidelity to Christ may be an encouragement and example to the missionaries and especially the catechists in mission lands which play an important and irreplaceable apostolic work, for which the whole Church is grateful,” he said.
Closing, Pope Francis asked those gathered to pray for his trip to the Holy Land, May 24-26. (D.C.L.)