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April 2015: Pope takes initiative against human trafficking and the Armenian genocide

2015-12-27

The Pope remained in Rome during the month of April, which started strong with the celebration of Easter. He released important messages about the persecution of Christians, human trafficking, and the Armenian genocide. The Pope also called for an end to the death of migrants in the Mediterranean. 

During the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, he celebrated the feast of priests with a message for them: Do not look over your shoulder and be on guard against temptation. 

POPE FRANCIS
(APRIL 2) 
"The faithful never leave us without something to do, unless we hide in our offices or go out in our cars wearing sun glasses.”

In the afternoon, Francis broke away from the traditional celebration of the Last Supper in the Cathedral of San Giovanni by having a more humble celebration at a prison in Rome. There he washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners, men and women from various parts of the world.

The Pope also recalled persecuted Christians and denounced the silence, a message that is usually the focus of the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum on Good Friday. 

POPE FRANCIS
(APRIL 3)
"In You, Divine Love, we still see our persecuted brothers, beheaded and crucified because of their faith while we watch or while we remain silent accomplices.”

(APRIL 5)
Two days later, in the usual blessing 'Urbi et Orbi' on Easter Sunday, the Pope prayed for the 147 students killed by Islamist terrorists. The problem of jihadi attacks has been constant throughout the year. 

(APRIL 12)
The following Sunday, Francis celebrated Mass to mark the first anniversary of the Armenian genocide, during which he named Armenian St. Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. 

Pope Francis referred to the slaughter of one million Armenians 'genocide,' which angered Turkey. However, the European Parliament stood beside the Pope in the conflict and that same week called on Turkey to officially acknowledge the genocide. 

(APRIL 19)
In the Regina Coeli on Sunday, April 19, the Pope prayed for the 700 migrants who died in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach the Italian coast. 

POPE FRANCIS
"I express my deepest sorrow in the face of this tragedy and I assure my thoughts and prayers to those still missing and to their families. I address an urgent appeal that the international community will act with decision and promptness to avoid any similar tragedy from happening again.”

(APRIL 20)
This question was the focus of the first meeting between Pope Francis and Italy's new president, Sergio Mattarella. 

The Pope's agenda intensified during the final days of April. He met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon. The two discussed climate change, one of the major issues the Pope has taken on this past year.

On 29th, the Pope reflected on why young people seem to be rejecting marriage. It's a major issue that would be discussed at the Synod on the Family a few months later.

POPE FRANCIS
"Why aren't young people getting married? Why do they prefer to live together and often times with limited responsibility? Many couples, even the Baptized are showing little faith in marriage and in the family.”

Pope Francis closed the month with a major public encounter with Jesuit congregations. More than 5,000 people were present, and many asked questions. In his responses, the Pope offered a call to action.

POPE FRANCIS
"You must ask yourself, as a Catholic, Do I see reality from afar? You can't be a spectator. Commit yourself. Do your best. If the Lord calls you to it, get involved in politics. It will make you suffer, perhaps even lead you to sin, but the Lord is with you. Ask for forgiveness and go forward.”

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission also came to Rome, and the Pope gave a message of unity by the 'link' that unites all Christians.

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