Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Bari)
Sunday, 23 February 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we are gathered here to pray and reflect on peace and on the future of the peoples on the borders of the Mediterranean, a terrible tragedy is unfolding on this sea’s other shore, in particular in north-western Syria. From our hearts of Pastors, we launch a strong appeal to the stakeholders involved and to the international community that the din of weapons may cease and the cry of the little ones and the defenceless can be heard: so that calculations and interests may be put aside in order to protect the lives of civilians and of the many innocent children who pay the consequences.
Let us pray to the Lord that he may move hearts so that everyone may overcome the logic of conflict, of hatred and of revenge in order to rediscover that they are brothers and sisters, children of one Father who makes the sun rise on the good and on the bad (cf. Mt 5:45). Let us invoke the Holy Spirit so that each of us, starting with daily gestures of love, may contribute to building new relationships inspired by understanding, welcome and patience, thus putting into place the conditions to experience the joy of the Gospel and to spread it in all areas of life. May the Virgin Mary, “Star of the Sea” [Holy Mother of God] to whom we look as the loftiest example of faithfulness to Jesus and to his Word, help us walk on this path.
Before reciting the Angelus together, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all the bishops and those who have taken part in this encounter on the Mediterranean as a frontier of peace; as well as those — and there are many — who in various ways have worked for its success. Thank you everyone! You have contributed to the growth of the culture of encounter and dialogue in this region that is so important for peace in the world.
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