Worried by the rising wave of insecurity occasioned by rounds of terrorists attacks in Nigeria,
Pope Francis yesterday specially devoted a session of his prayers for peace in Nigeria, Syria and Ukraine.
The leader of the Catholic church worldwide prayed specifically for an end to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria that have targeted so many Christians.
More than 150,000 tourists — Romans and pilgrims, young and old — had turned out for the Mass as they celebrated Easter Sunday.
According to the AFP, many came waving flags from the pope’s native Argentina as well as Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Poland and many other countries, they filled the broad boulevard leading from the square to the Tiber River.
Francis noted that this year the Catholic church’s celebration of Easter coincided with that of Orthodox churches, which have many followers in Ukraine.
“We ask You (God) to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine, so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence,” the pope prayed.
He prayed for those suffering in Africa from an epidemic of deadly Ebola and urged a halt to “brutal terrorist attacks” in parts of Nigeria.
Francis’ Easter message also stressed that people pay attention to the needy close to home. Reflecting the priorities of his papacy, he said the “good news” of Easter’s joy and hope means “leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast.”