“I am thinking of the ordeal of those who suffer the consequences of the violence in Ukraine: of those who continue to live in lands that are turned upside-down by hostilities that have caused thousands of deaths, and of those – over a million – who have been forced to leave due to the grave situation that persists” he said. And noting that the most vulnerable are always involved – elderly people and children – Pope Francis said that while he accompanies them with prayers he has also announced a special charity collection to support them.
Inviting all faithful to join in favour of this initiative, the Pope said that next Sunday, April 24, it will be possible to contribute to the collection in all Catholic Churches in Europe. “This gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church” he said. And he expressed his profound hope that it may be of help to promote peace and the respect for rights in that “worn out land”. Pope Francis also recalled that on April 4 we mark the International Day of Awareness Against Antipersonnel Mines. He said that too many people continue to be killed or mutilated by these terrible explosives and that brave men and women risk their lives to clear mined land. “Please, let us renew the commitment for a world without landmines” he appealed. (Linda Bordoni)