Pope Francis has called on the faithful to pray for nations that are suffering from crisis “made even more difficult” by the coronavirus pandemic.
In his Angelus address, the pontiff noted that a conference to “support the future of Syria and the region” will take place later in the week.
“Let us pray for this important meeting … so that it may improve the dramatic situation of the Syrian people and neighboring peoples, particularly Lebanon,” he said June 29.
The pope noted that people from the region have been suffering because of “serious socio-political and economic crises that have been made even more difficult by the pandemic.”
On June 30, the European Union and the United Nations will co-chair the fourth Brussels Conference on the situation in Syria and the region that “remains highly critical.”
This year marks the 10th year of the conflict in Syria that led to the displacement of millions of people seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
The conference aims “to gather all relevant actors” to address the dire humanitarian and refugee situation.
It also calls for a “comprehensive political solution to the Syrian conflict” and provide financial support for Syria and neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
“Think of the fact that there are small children who are hungry, who do not have anything to eat. Please, may the leaders be capable of making peace,” Pope Francis said.
The pontiff also invited the crowd at St. Peter’s Square “to pray for the population of Yemen, especially the children, who are suffering as a result of the very serious humanitarian crisis.”
“And for those affected by the severe floods in western Ukraine. May they experience the comfort of the Lord and the help of their brethren,” Pope Francis added.
Before reciting the Angelus prayer, the pope reflected on the Gospel reading saying that says “there is no true love without the Cross.”
“That is, without a personal price to pay,” the pontiff continued.
Pope Francis said parents who “sacrifice many things to their child, and bear true sacrifices, crosses, but because they love them.”
The pontiff noted that the great love for the family more than others often results in corruption.
“Some forms of corruption in governments come about precisely because love for the family is greater than love for one’s country, and so they place family members in office,” he said.
“The same with Jesus: when love is greater than Him, it is not good,” he added.
Pope Francis praised the people who “are bearing crosses to help others” and “sacrifice themselves to help others who are in need in this pandemic.”