Pope Francis prays at Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

By Devin Watkins

Mar 25 2024

Pope Francis offers his prayers for the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack on a concert hall in the Russian capital of Moscow, and invites everyone to pray for “martyred Ukraine” as the country faces heavy Russian bombardment of critical infrastructure.

“I assure my prayers for the victims of the vile terrorist attack carried out the other evening in Moscow.”

Pope Francis offered that assurance as he prayed the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square at the conclusion of Mass on Palm Sunday.

“May the Lord welcome them in His peace and comfort their families,” he added.

The Pope also prayed that God might instill peace in the hearts of all people.

“May He convert the hearts of those who plan, organize, and carry out these inhuman actions, which offend God, who commanded: ‘Thou shalt not kill’,” he said.

Attack on concern hall

At least 4 armed men entered the Crocus City concert hall in Moscow on Friday evening, opening fire and killing at least 133 people and injuring dozens others.

The attackers also set off explosive devices that set the venue ablaze and left it a smoldering ruin.

An affiliate of the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, a claim confirmed by US intelligence officials.

Russian authorities have arrested 11 people in connection with the terrorist attack, including the 4 gunmen.

Prayers for ‘martyred Ukraine’

In his Angelus address, Pope Francis also prayed for everyone suffering due to war, especially in “martyred Ukraine”.

He said “so many people are without electricity due to intense attacks against infrastructure, which, besides causing death and suffering, raise the risk of an even-greater humanitarian catastrophe.”

“Please,” he added, “let us not forget martyred Ukraine, and let us also think of Gaza which is suffering greatly, along with other places of war.”

Holy Week close to the Lord

The Pope then invited Christians to enter Holy Week by entrusting our journey toward Easter to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Let us learn from her to draw near to Jesus in these days of Holy Week, so that we may arrive at the joy of the Resurrection.” – Vatican News