Twice a year, on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, the Pope gives the Urbi et Orbi blessing.
It is a prayer centered on peace. But, on exceptional occasions, like that of March 28, 2020, Pope Francis prayed the Urbi et Orbi for an end to COVID. On Easter Sunday this year, the Pope asked for God's help to end the war in Ukraine.
Help the beloved Ukrainian people on their path to peace and pour Easter light on the Russian people.
Pope Francis also prayed for Syria on the twelfth anniversary of the war. The earthquake in both Syria and Turkey further complicated the situation. According to the United Nations, 15 million Syrians have 'few resources beyond humanitarian aid.'
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN
Much more needs to be done in the weeks ahead. Collective shelters must be decongested and consolidated. Adequate housing must be supported. Safe, voluntary, and dignified returns must be facilitated.”
On Easter Sunday, the Pope also prayed for the city of Jerusalem, which he called 'the first witness of the Resurrection.' He expressed his concern for the recent attacks that threaten the relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians. Pope Francis had already condemned them at the Angelus on January 29.
With great sorrow, I learned of the news of the Holy Land. The spiral of death that increases day by day only destroys the small glimmer of trust that exists between the two nations.
The Pope remembered Lebanon, one of the few countries with a Christian presence in the Middle East. The explosion of the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020 caused many Maronite Christians to leave the country.
Pope Francis prayed for South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which he visited two months ago. He also spoke of Myanmar, whose military government oppresses women, Catholics and the Rohingya, a minority Muslim ethnic group.
The Pope renewed his petitions for Nicaragua, where the Catholic Church has been persecuted since 2018, Holy Week processions were banned and Bishop Rolando Álvarez was imprisoned for allegedly 'betraying the country.'