Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and other countries suffering from conflicts, and also called on leaders of states to make the coronavirus vaccine available to everyone. He said this on December 25, in his traditional message "Urbi et Orbi", Vatican news reports.
The Pope underscored that thanks to the Christ Child “we can all call one another brothers and sisters” even as we hail from every continent, every language and culture, with our own identities and differences. He said this fundamental reality is something we can all build on to address the monumental challenges we are facing at this moment in history, such as the ecological crisis and serious economic and social imbalances worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“In everyone, I see reflected the face of God, and in those who suffer, I see the Lord pleading for my help. I see him in the sick, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, the migrant and the refugee.”
Looking at the lights and shadows in our world, the Pope offered his prayers and encouraged all people to offer theirs to remember the many children worldwide who are victims of war, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. He called on courageous efforts to work for peace there and throughout the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, and that the Infant Jesus might heal the wounds of the beloved Syrian people and bring comfort to Iraqis and those working for reconciliation, recalling especially the Yazidis who have suffered greatly.
He prayed that peace may take root in Libya and that Israelis and Palestinians might regain mutual trust to continue dialogue to overcome grievances. He encouraged the Lebanese to keep hope alive and for leaders to work for reforms so that the country can persevere in its vocation of freedom and peaceful coexistence.
Looking at other areas of the world, he prayed that the international community be supported in efforts to continue the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, eastern Ukraine. And in areas where armed conflicts and humanitarian crisis persist, he remembered Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Cameroon and for their suffering to finally end.
The Pope remembered the American continent, especially affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and for a calming of tensions in Chile and Venezuela. He recalled the victims of natural disasters, especially in the Philippines and Vietnam. He noted the suffering of the Rohingya people and that they might find respite and hope.