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Pope Francis holds Mass in Casa Santa Marta for persecuted Christians


Tuesday's Mass in Casa Santa Marta was a special one. Pope Francis presided alongside the Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Youssef Absi, who visited the pope to renew his Church's communion with Rome. 

The Holy Father mentioned this during the celebration and reminded that this ceremony means “the hug of a father of a Church with Peter.”

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch has its patriarchate in Damascus, Syria. Thus, the pope especially pondered the suffering of Middle Eastern Christians. 

POPE FRANCIS
“We celebrate this Mass for the people who suffer, and for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, who give up their lives, goods, and property because they are driven out.”

This week, Pope Francis held a meeting with these bishops in which he praised the good the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is doing in these difficult times for Christians in places like Syria. 

The bishops presented the pope with this chalice and paten, which they used during Tuesday's Mass in Casa Santa Marta.