Palestinians walk amid the rubble of destroyed houses in Gaza  (AFP or licensors)

By Devin Watkins

Mar 7 2024

Pope Francis invites Christians to pray for all people who suffer from the horrors of war and to invoke peace for our world.

“Once again, brothers and sisters, I renew my invitation to pray for people who suffer the horror of war in Ukraine and the Holy Land, as well as in other parts of the world.”

Pope Francis offered that invitation at the end of the Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.

As he greeted Italian-speaking pilgrims, the Pope repeated his constant appeal for peace.

“Let us pray for peace!” he said. “May we ask the Lord for the gift of peace.”

Pope Francis spoke those words himself, despite asking Fr. Pierluigi Giroli, an official at the Secretariat of State, to read his catechesis and greetings to pilgrims.

As the Audience began, the Pope said he was still suffering the effects of a cold.

Ongoing ‘horrors’ of war

In his appeal, the Holy Father specifically mentioned Ukraine and the Holy Land.

Ukrainian media report that continuous drone attacks by Russian forces struck various Ukrainian cities on Tuesday night, including the regions of Kyiv and Odessa.

In Gaza, the death toll continues to rise, with the number of Palestinian victims numbering over 30,700 since the start of the Israeli military’s ground offensive.

These figures come from the Hamas-run Health Ministry of the Gaza Strip, which reports about 72,150 injuries since October 7, with 86 deaths and 113 people wounded in the last 24 hours.

Prayerful Lenten journey

At the General Audience, Pope Francis also invited Christians to continue faithfully along our Lenten journey toward Easter.

“In these days of Lent,” he said, “continue courageously in your efforts to free yourselves from everything that masks your lives, so as to return with your whole heart to God, who loves us with an eternal love.” – Vatican News