At 9 o’clock this morning, with the singing of Tierce, the 4th General Congregation of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops opened.
Pope Francis invited those present to dedicate a prayer for the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East and, at the same time, together with the Synod Fathers, he made an appeal to the International Community to resolve the conflicts underway.
Here is a translation of the Pope’s words in the Synod Hall, with the invitation to pray as well for peace on the African Continent.
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Dear Synod Fathers, dear Brothers and Sisters,
In taking up the works this morning of the General Congregation, I would like to invite you to dedicate the prayer of Tierce for the intention of reconciliation and peace in the Middle East.
We are painfully affected and follow with profound concern what is happening in Syria, in Iraq, in Jerusalem and in the West Bank, where we witness an escalation of violence that involves innocent civilians and continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions.
War brings destruction and multiplies the sufferings of populations. Hope and progress come only from the choice for peace.
Therefore, let us unite in an intense and confident prayer to the Lord, a prayer that intends to be at the same time an expression of closeness to Brother Patriarchs and Bishops here present, who come from those areas, to their priests and faithful, as well as all those that dwell there.
At the same time, together with the Synod, I make a heartbroken appeal to the International Community, to find a way to help the parties concerned, to widen their horizons beyond their immediate interests and to use the instruments of International Law, of diplomacy, to resolve the conflicts underway.
Finally, I desire that we extend our prayer also to those areas of the African Continent that are living similar situations of conflict.
May Mary, Queen of Peace and loving Mother of her children, intercede for all.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]