Pope Francis’ appeal for peace in Syria at the General Audience – St. Peter’s Square – Vatican City, April 09, 2014

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Last Monday, at Homs in Syria, the Reverend Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit confrere of mine, 75, was killed. He arrived in Syria about 50 years ago, and always did good to everyone, with gratuitousness and love, and therefore was loved and esteemed by Christians and Muslims.

His brutal murder has filled me with profound grief and has made me think again of the many people who suffer and die in that martyred country, my beloved Syria, already for too long prey of a bloody conflict, which continues to sow death and destruction. I think also of the numerous persons kidnapped, Christians and Muslims, Syrians and foreigners, among who are Bishops and Priests. Let us pray to the Lord that they may soon be able to return to their dear ones and to their families and communities.

I invite all from my heart to join me in prayer for peace in Syria and in the region, and I make a heartbroken appeal to Syrian leaders and to the international community: please, silence the arms, put an end to the violence! No more war! No more destruction! May humanitarian rights be respected, may care be taken of the population in need of humanitarian aid and may the desired peace be attained through dialogue and reconciliation. Let us ask our Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, to give us this gift for Syria and let us all pray together: Ave Maria …


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