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Pope Invites to Pray for ‘Martyred Land’ of Syria, Persecuted Christians

Holy Father Greets Arabic-speaking Pilgrims

Pope Francis invited once again to pray for “persecuted Christians.” Greeting Arabic-speaking visitors from Syria, the Holy Land and the Middle East, he encouraged “this martyred land.”

During the General Audience of February 28, 2018, the Pope did so, when addressing Arabic-speaking visitors, triggering the applause of the crowd present in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Speaking off the cuff, Francis stressed: “It’s a martyred land . . . We must pray for these brothers that live the war and for persecuted Christians.

“They want to chase them out of the land. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters,” he said.

After having given his catechesis on the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Holy Father then stressed: “in the Eucharist, we offer the Lord what He has given us, asking Him to give Himself to us in exchange.”

“We learn from this exchange, between our poverty and His richness, that it’s only by giving ourselves that we enrich ourselves; it’s only in opening our hearts to the Lord and to brothers that we enable God to fill us with the abundance of His grace,” he added.

“May the Lord bless you and protect you from the Evil One,” said the Pope.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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