Pope Francis expressed his concern for the situation in Iraq, where ISIS militants sparked a conflict leaving thousands of victims so far.
"I join the country's bishops in asking the government to preserve national unity through dialogue, and avoid war. I am especially close to thousands of families, especially Christians, who have had to leave behind their houses and face greater dangers. Violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”
After, the Pope urged pilgrims to pray together so that Our Lady looks over the Iraqi people.
Celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope recalled in his brief speech, that both martyrs were also big sinners.
"Simon had denied Jesus during the most dramatic moment of the Passion. Saul had firmly persecuted Christians. But together they received God's love and let His mercy transform them.”
Pope Francis said that it's not a story worthy of admiration, but one that shows how God acts within each person.
"Even us, if by chance we fall in the gravest sins and in the darkest night, God is always capable of transforming us, just like how he transformed Peter and Paul.”
From his window, the Pope looked down upon the impressive flower designs that covered St. Peter's Square and the nearby streets. He gave thanks to the artists, which earned an enthusiastic applause from the pilgrims.