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Rome Reports

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Pope pleads for peace in Holy Land: “We never learn. God helps us”

Pope Francis finished his catechesis on baptism with an especially energetic audience. The pope stopped to greet this group from Ausonia, Argentina. 

“I was in Ausonia in the year '59. I was 22 years old.”

During the cathechesis, the pope explained the significance of the white garment worn when receiving the sacrament. He said it expresses new life as creatures who reflect the glory of God. He also explained the meaning of the baptismal candle, lit from the Paschal candle. He explained that is symbolized the fire of faith passing from the godparents and parents to the child. He said the flame should be protected and fed continuously. 

“It is the parents' job, together with the godparents, to care for and feed the flame of grace to their young ones, helping them persevere in the faith. Christian education is a right for children. Christian education is a right for children.”

The pope expressed his pain and concern about the current wars. This is what he said when greeting a group of retired soldiers from World War II.

“With sadness, I remember the wars. In the last century, there were two big ones. Still now... we never learn. God helps us.”

Yet Pope Francis didn't stop there. At the end of the Audience he sent out this cry for peace in the Holy Land. 

“I am very worried and hurt by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East and for the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations. I express my great pain for the dead and wounded and I am close to all who suffer with my prayers. I repeat that using violence never brings peace. War calls for war, violence calls for violence.”

Pope Francis asked all parties involved in the conflict and the whole international community to renew their promise so that dialogue, justice and peace takes precedence. At the end of this plea, he prayed a Hail Mary with all the pilgrims for this intention.