In his first General Audience of the year, Pope Francis prayed for world peace and sought solace for the victims of various armed conflicts.
“War is madness,” Pope Francis declared, “it is always a defeat for humanity.” He implored the faithful to open their hearts to the needs of the poor, refugees, and the victims of war.
He expressed his deep concern for those suffering in the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Israel, and Ukraine, now entering its third year.
He called for prayers not only for these regions but also urged the global community to remember the plight of the persecuted Rohingya in his plea for compassion and solidarity.
The Pope invoked the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, seeking the divine gift of peace for the world.
Pope Francis also extended prayers to the victims and rescuers affected by the earthquake that struck the Noto peninsula on New Year’s Day.
The earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.6, claimed the lives of 64 individuals and left significant destruction in its wake.
The Pope also mentioned the tragic airplane collision in Tokyo involving a Japan Airlines Airbus and a Coast Guard aircraft carrying emergency goods for earthquake-hit areas.
Four out of five Coast Guard crew members lost their lives in the collision, while all 379 passengers and crew of the Japan Airlines flight miraculously survived the fiery crash.