(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has asked for prayers for the people of Iraq, also appealing for all in Mosul to “engage fully with the civil protection forces, as an imperative and urgent obligation.”
The Pope’s appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in words to a delegation from the Iraqi Supervisory Board.
The interreligious group was accompanied by Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Pope Francis said, “The richness of the dear Iraqi nation lies exactly in this mosaic, which represents unity in diversity, strength in union, and prosperity in harmony.”
He encouraged efforts toward interreligious harmony and asked for prayers for this end.
“I invite all to pray that Iraq may find peace, unity, and prosperity in reconciliation and in harmony among its different ethnic and religious components.”
The Holy Father then turned his thoughts to the people of western Mosul and those forced to leave the area in search of security.
“My thoughts go to the civilian populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and to the people displaced by war, to whom I feel united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness. While expressing deep sorrow for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all the appeal to engage fully with the civil protection forces, as an imperative and urgent obligation.”
Pope Francis also invited pilgrims from Iraq and other Arab-speaking countries to look to Mary, the Mother of God, and follow her model of faith.
“Like her, we are called to live a life sustained by faith and to look with hope to the completion of the Will of God in our lives. May God bless you!”
(Devin Sean Watkins)