Pope Francis: Peace prayers for Middle East and Ukraine

Pope Francis assured those who are suffering that they are in his prayers

VATICAN CITY – During his weekly Angelus address, Pope Francis expressed concern over tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine, urging the people to pray for peace.

 “Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace,” the pontiff said. He appealed to all those present in St. Peter’s Square and beyond to continue praying for an end to conflict all over the world with particular emphasis on the Middle East and Ukraine. Commenting on the Gospel reading of the day, the pontiff referenced the parable of the good seed and the weeds, which speaks of evil in the world and highlights God’s patience.

 “We are always quick to judge, classify, put the good in one box and the evil in another,” the Pope explained. “But God knows how to wait. He looks in the ‘field’ of life of every person with patience and mercy: he sees the dirt and the evil much better than we do, but he also sees the seeds of good and patiently awaits their germination.”

 Following the Angelus, Francis voiced concerns for the plight of Christian communities in the Iraqi town of Mosul and in other parts of the Middle East. “Today our brothers are persecuted,” he said. “They are banished from their homes and forced to flee without being able to take their belongings with them.”

 The Pope assured all those who are persecuted and suffering that they are in his prayers, and encouraged others to do the same.