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Rome Reports

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Pope calls for prayers for Iraq and Ukraine

Pope Francis conveyed his concern, during the Sunday Angelus, for Christians in the Middle East, especially those forced to flee form the Iraqi city of Mosul. POPE FRANCIS "Today our brothers are persecuted. They are banished from their homes and forced to flee without even being able to take their belongings!â? The Pope called on the pilgrims present to "persevere in praying for peace,â? in all situations of "tension and conflictâ? around the world, with a special emphasis on Ukraine and the Middle East. POPE FRANCIS "Violence is overcome with peace! Let us pray in silence, asking for peace: all of us, in silence...â? Several minutes before the prayer, the Pope talked about the parable of the weeds, which the Devil plants alongside good wheat.  POPE FRANCIS "We all know that the Devil plants evil where there is good, trying to divide people, families and nations.â? He added that this parable raises a contrast between humans and God. Humans, as soon as they see the weeds in their fields, they act impatiently, and try to pull out the weeds, even though it might also damage the good wheat in doing so.  POPE FRANCIS "But God knows how to wait. He looks into the â??fieldâ?? of each person with patience and mercy. He sees the dirt and the evil much better than we do. But He also sees the seeds of good and patiently awaits their germination.â? It was the second Angelus in a row that Pope Francis dedicated to peace. Last week, he appealed for prayers and a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, a conflict that continues spilling blood to this day. Since the start of the Israeli ground offensive, 18 Israeli soldiers lost their lives, as well as 400 Palestinians, 120 alone on Sunday. JRB/RCA CTV VM -BN Up: MAE