(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for constructive dialogue between Institutions and civil society in Ukraine.
Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus Prayer, the Pope said he is praying for the people of Ukraine, in particular for those who have lost their lives during the violence of the past days, and for their families. He said he is praying the parties involved will avoid resorting to violent actions, and that the spirit of peace and the quest for common good may prevail.
Weeks of protests in Kiev have escalated into violent clashes between police and demonstrators angry that the government didn't sign a deal to bring it closer to the European Union.
Also in words after the Angelus, Pope Francis noted that there were many children in the Square and said his thoughts go to a three-year child, burnt to death by members of the Southern Italian Calabria mafia after his grandfather failed to pay a drug debt to mobsters. This violence against such a young child – he said – seems not to have precedents in the history of criminality. “Let’s pray for Cocò” – Francis continued – “who is surely in heaven with Jesus, and for those who have committed this crime: may they repent and convert to the Lord”.
And, reflecting on the Gospel reading for the day which tells of how Jesus began his public life in Galilee – a land of borders and of transit, a peripheral region where men of different races, cultures and religions met. The Pope pointed out that Galilee is similar to the world today: the presence of diverse cultures – he said - means there is need for encounter. This kind of context – he added – can frighten us and tempt us to build walls of protection. But Jesus – he pointed out – teaches us that the Good News that he brings is for all – not just for part of humanity.
And speaking of how Jesus chose his apostles among the simple people, the fishermen whom he called to make “fishers of men” – the Pope said “the Lord continues to walk the streets of our daily life calling us to go join Him and to work with Him for God’s Reign, in the ‘Galilee’ of our times”. “Each one you”- he said – “must realize that the Lord is watching you: if you hear Him saying ‘follow me’, you must have courage and go with Him. The Lord will never disappoint you”.
Text from Vatican Radio website