The large crowds of pilgrims at St. Peter's Square listened intently during the General Audience as Pope Francis dissected his apostolic trip to the Holy Land, which ended on Monday.
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Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis to the goals of his pilgrimage: to spur peace talks in the Middle East, reaffirm the faith of Catholics living in the Holy land, and to further unity between Christians.
The Pope emphasized that this particular issue worries him greatly, especially given the location where these divisions become evident.
"This truly causes pain, pains to the heart. We are still divided, in the very place where He resurrected.”
At the same time, the Pope highlighted his good relationship with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who he feels particularly close to, as a Christian.
"We felt the desire to heal these wounds, still open, and to continue with determination towards the path of full communion. Once again, as Popes before me have done, I ask forgiveness for what we have done to favor this division. I ask the Holy Spirit to help us heal the wounds that we inflicted on our brothers. We are all brothers in Christ.”
Achieving peace was the other main goal for the Pope's trip to the Holy Land. He called it a gift from God, which requires a lot of work from humanity.
He urged politicians to be "artisans of peace.” He also thanked countries like Jordan for their efforts to take in refugees.
"There are no industries to build peace. It's built on a daily basis, hand-made, and also with an open heart, to make space for the gift from God.”
Pope Francis confessed that he felt reassured by the testimony from Christians living the Holy Land, where they remain a repressed minority.
Before the audience came to an end, Pope Francis asked the entire Square to pray there and then, for progress in the peace process between Israel and Palestine, the entire Middle East, and in favor of Christian unity.