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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis remembers a missionary killed in the Central African Republic

As is typical every week, Pope Francis invited a group of children to ride with him on the popemobile. The pope blessed babies, responded with affection to enthusiastic pilgrims and even stopped for a drink.

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on the “Our Father” prayer. He said it is a central prayer for Christians. This is because it reflects the relationship one ought to maintain with God. 

“This is the root of Christian prayer. It is to address God as “Father.” This takes courage, eh? In order to pray we must make ourselves become small. This is so the Holy Spirit may enter us and guide us in prayer.”

During the greetings in several languages, the pope lamented the 77-year-old missionary murdered in the Central African Republic, Inés Nieves Sancho.

“She was educating poor girls for decades and was brutally killed in Central Africa. It was in the very place where she taught girls how to sew. She is one more woman who has given her life for Jesus in service to the poor. Let us pray together.”

He also recalled on Friday, May 24, the feast of the Our Lady Help of Christians, will be celebrated. It is particularly venerated in China. 

The Vatican and Beijing have begun a new diplomatic phase since September 2018 agreement. This decision has not been well received by all Catholics in the country.

“Dear faithful of China, may Our Mother of Heaven help you all to be witnesses of charity and fraternity, always keeping you united in communion with the universal Church. I pray and bless you all. Let us pray together to Our Lady: Hail Mary.”

There was also more time for greetings and celebrations. At the beginning of the audience the pope greeted a group of military men with Ukrainian flags and at the end he did not miss the opportunity to congratulate the Brazilian Card. José Freire Falcão for his 70th anniversary as a priest.