Pope Francis uses Easter message to focus on Kenya, Syria and Iraq

The Guardian reports: Pope Francis used his Easter message on Sunday to pray for the nearly 150 victims of the Kenya university massacre, while also highlighting the suffering of people across the Middle East and elsewhere.

“May constant prayer rise up from all people of goodwill for those who lost their lives – I think in particular of the young people who were killed last Thursday at Garissa University College in Kenya,” the pontiff told crowds of believers cowering under umbrellas amid heavy rain in St Peter’s Square.

The pope’s comments came after Islamist militants stormed the Kenyan university on Thursday, killing 148 people. While the al-Shabaab gunmen initially killed students indiscriminately, survivors said Christians were later identified and shot.

The pope put persecuted Christian minorities and those suffering from conflicts at the centre of his Easter address in Rome, known as the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) address, with particular emphasis on the Middle East.

“We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq: that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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