Pope Francis condemned the war in Ukraine after Russia’s ongoing invasion of that country reached the 100-day mark.
“On Pentecost, God’s dream for humanity becomes reality; fifty days after Easter, peoples who speak different languages encounter and understand one another,” the 85-year-old pontiff said. “But now, 100 days after the beginning of the armed aggression against Ukraine, the nightmare of war, which is the negation of God’s dream, has once again befallen humanity.”
He spoke to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square in Rome following the Regina Coeli, a Marian prayer said during the Easter season, on June 5. Thousands of faithful gathered on the feast of Pentecost with colorful banners and flags to pray with the pontiff on the hot, summer-like day.
Every year, the feast of Pentecost marks the end of Easter and recalls when the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Christ.
Before the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis asked the joyful crowd — young, elderly, religious, and families from around the world — to repeat the prayer: “Come Holy Spirit, remind me of Jesus, enlighten my heart.”
During his address, he urged world leaders to unite against war and work toward solutions.
“And while the fury of destruction and death rampages and the conflicts rage on, fuelling an escalation that is increasingly dangerous for all, I renew my appeal to the leaders of Nations: do not lead humanity into ruin, please!” he pleaded. “Let true negotiations take place, real talks for a ceasefire and for a sustainable solution.”
He added, “Let the desperate cry of the suffering people be heard — we see this every day in the media — have respect for human life and stop the macabre destruction of cities and villages in the east of Ukraine.”
June 3 marked 100 days since the beginning of Russia’s invasion that has left thousands dead. The United Nations estimates that nearly 7 million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, with many more displaced or stranded within Ukraine.
On Sunday, the pontiff encouraged, “Let us continue, please, to pray and to strive tirelessly for peace.” You can watch the pope’s full address in the video below.
At the end of his address, Pope Francis also recognized the recent beatification of two Lebanese priests martyred under the Ottoman Empire: Leonardo Melki and Thomas George Saleh.
Pope Francis also thanked God for a recently renewed truce between the Government in Yemen and Houthi rebels in the Yemen conflict.
He prayed for the victims of the landslides caused by torrential rains in the metropolitan region of Recife, Brazil, that have left more than 100 dead. He also expressed his closeness to fishermen suffering from increased gas prices and to all workers affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
He concluded with one last request: “I pray for you; pray for me.”