Pope Francis offers prayer for those persecuted for their faith

Pope Francis waves from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Aug. 23 during his weekly Angelus prayer. (Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via LiCAS.news)

Pope Francis has called on the faithful to sustain with prayers and solidarity those who are being persecuted because of their religion and faith.

“Yesterday, the World Day Remembering the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief was celebrated,” the pope said after the Angelus on Aug. 23.  

In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly designated Aug. 22 as the day to remember victims of religious persecution.

“Let us pray for these, our brothers and sisters, and let us also sustain with our prayer and solidarity those, and there are many, who today are persecuted because of their faith and religion. There are many,” he said.

Massacre in Mexico

The pope went on to say that Aug. 24 was the tenth anniversary of the massacre of 72 migrantsby a drug cartel in San Fernando town in Mexico.

“They were people from various countries who were looking for a better life,” the pope said, recalling the incident as he joined the observance of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

“I express my solidarity with the families of the victims who today are still asking for truth and justice regarding the events,” said Pope Francis.

In Mexico, church leaders urged authorities to provide justice to the families of the migrants who were abducted and killed.

Bishop Enrique Sanchez Martinez of Nuevo Laredo on Aug. 20 said the investigation “has not advanced” after more than ten years.

“There are no scientific investigations nor contextual analyses,” said the prelate.

“There’s no transnational investigation. The families continue waiting for explanations and accountability, but there’s no continuity in the investigation,” he added.

Bishop Martinez urged the Mexican government to “take seriously the grave situation of human rights (in the country) so that such violence never repeats itself.”

Pope Francis said the Lord will hold the human family “to account for all of the migrants who have fallen on their journey of hope.”

He said those migrants who were killed “were victims of the throwaway culture.”

Christian charity

As part of his Angelus, Pope Francis reminded Christians that charity is not simple philanthropy.

“It is looking at others through the eyes of Jesus himself and, on the other hand, seeing Jesus in the face of the poor,” he said.

The pontiff stressed that Christian charity is “indispensable and praiseworthy” and must be opened “to many forms of poverty and crises, which are everywhere.”

“Charity is always the high road of the journey of faith, of the perfection of faith,” he said.

Pope Francis said it is necessary that works of solidarity or the works of charity that Christians carry out, “not divert us from contact with the Lord Jesus.”

“This is the true path of Christian charity, with Jesus at the center, always,” said the pontiff. - LiCAS.news