The Holy See Press Office said, “The results of these talks, such as those with religious representatives, as well as the direct experience of the atrocious suffering of the Ukrainian people as a result of the ongoing war, will be brought to the Holy Father’s attention.”
Pope Francis is urging everyone to pray for the soul of a Nigerian priest who was murdered last Sunday, and to continue to remember and pray for the many Christians who suffer violence directly, especially for the suffering people of Ukraine.
A group of mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and aunts of Ukrainian prisoners-of-war hand Pope Francis a traditional embroidered blanket, advocating for the protection and return of their loved ones.
At the conclusion of Wednesday's General Audience, Pope Francis greets a Ukrainian woman whose husband is a prisoner of war and their son, who came bearing gifts for the Pope, including a calendar showing the devastation of the Azovstal steelworks plant.
In an interview with the Spanish daily ABC, Pope Francis reveals that at the beginning of his pontificate he gave the then-Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, a letter declaring he would step down in the event of serious and permanent health impediments that made it impossible for him to exercise his role as Bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal Church.
At the conclusion of the General Audience, Pope Francis called on everyone to renew closeness to Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are suffering greatly, to help them with humanitarian aid and keep them in our hearts throughout Advent and Christmas.
"One woman told me that she saw her house burn down completely in 20 minutes. Only a small hut remains, where she now lives with her husband. It is very painful for them to wake up every morning and see only ruins around them." Sister Marta Meshko
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, appealed for the release of Fathers Ivan Levytskyi and Bohdan Heleta, who were detained from their parish in Berdyansk in November.
Pope Francis reiterated his concern over the war in Ukraine three times during the weekly General Audience, calling for disarmament and appealing for dialogue. He also highlighted the many forgotten wars wreaking death and destruction across the globe.
Speaking after the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls that today is World Mission Day, and he encourages us to support missionaries with prayer and concrete solidarity. He also invites us to pray for peace in Ukraine and in the world, noting that he will participate in an interreligious prayer for peace on Tuesday at Rome's Colosseum.
As the Church in Japan holds its annual Ten Days of Prayer for Peace event the Japanese bishops reiterate that peace is everybody’s responsibility. In their message for the occasion, signed by the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (CBCJ), Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo, the prelates reflect on Pope Francis’ words in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine.