Pope Francis: Angelus appeals for persecuted Christians, migrants

2015-08-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of Syrians in 1915, after he refused to convert to Islam, Pope Francis said, “Even today, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted,” and expressed the hope that the beatification of this Bishop Martyr might instill in them consolation, courage and hope. The Holy Father went on to say, “Let it also be a stimulus to legislators and government leaders to guarantee religious freedom everywhere, and to the international community to put an end to the violence and oppression.”

Click below to hear our report

Pope Francis also asked the faithful to pray especially for the migrants, who have lost their lives while in flight from situations of persecution, instability, and even social and economic failure, in search of a better life. Promising continued prayers of his own as well for all the victims, the Pope joined himself especially to the prayers of the Church in Austria – represented at the Angelus by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn – for the seventy-one people who perished inside a truck found on the side of the highway connecting Vienna and Budapest this past week. “We entrust each of them to the mercy of God,” said Pope Francis, “and we ask Him to help us to work together effectively to prevent these crimes, which offend the entire human family.”

Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation  of the full text of the Holy Father’s appeals

*********************************************

Dear brothers and sisters,

[Saturday], in Harissa, Lebanon, the Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, martyr. In the context of a terrible persecution of Christians, he was a tireless defender of the rights of his people, urging all to remain firm in the faith. Even today, dear brothers and sisters, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted. There are more martyrs [in this day and age] than there were in the first centuries [of the Church]. May the beatification of this Bishop-martyr instill in them consolation, courage and hope. Let it also be a stimulus to legislators and government leaders to insure religious freedom everywhere; and to the international community to put an end to violence and oppression.

Unfortunately, in recent days many migrants have lost their lives in their terrible travel. For all these brothers and sisters, I pray and ask you to pray. In particular, I join Cardinal Schönborn - who is here today - and the whole Church in Austria in prayer for the seventy-one people, including four children, found in a truck on the Vienna-Budapest highway. We entrust each of them to the mercy of God; and we ask Him to help us to work together effectively to prevent these crimes, which offend the entire human family.

(from Vatican Radio)