Pope Francis appealed for help for the people of Myanmar, especially those who have been displaced due to the ongoing conflict in the country following the February 1 military coup.
“I join my voice to that of the bishops of Myanmar, who last week launched an appeal calling to the attention of the whole world the harrowing experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and are dying of hunger,” said the pope after the prayer of the Angelus on Sunday.
On June 11, Myanmar’s Catholic bishops issued a statement appealing for peace, a humanitarian corridor in the conflict zones, and respect for the sanctity of places of worship.
The bishops urged the faithful in Myanmar “to launch into a period of intense prayer, seeking compassion in the hearts of all and peace to this nation” with daily Mass, adoration, and the rosary.
“May the Heart of Christ touch the hearts of all bringing peace to Myanmar,” Pope Francis said.
The pope also marked World Refugee Day, reminding the faithful to “open our hearts to refugees” and to “make their sadness and joys our own.”
“May we learn from their courageous resilience. And so, all together, we will make a more human community grow as one big family,” he said.
Protests have been held almost daily in Myanmar since the coup that cut short a decade of democratic reforms and also sparked paralyzing strikes in the country.
The United Nations General Assembly on Friday called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect the election results and release political detainees.
The General Assembly resolution was adopted with the support of 119 countries. Belarus was the only country to oppose it, while 36 abstained, including China and Russia.
“The risk of a large-scale civil war is real,” UN special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told the General Assembly after the vote.
“Time is of the essence. The opportunity to reverse the military takeover is narrowing.”