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October 24, 2014
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Pope Francis calls for peace and the end of hunger in Easter address

Pope Francis greets the crowd after the Easter mass
Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, denounced the "immense wastefulness" in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa.

"We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent," he said in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message.

Francis, marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, celebrated a Mass to an overflowing crowd of at least 150,000 in St. Peter's Square and beyond.

The crowd stretched back along all of Via della Conciliazione, the boulevard between the Vatican and the Tiber River.

Speaking under a sunny sky after a midnight rainstorm soaked the tens of thousands of flowers that bedecked the square, Francis weaved his message around the suffering of people across the globe.

He prayed to God to "help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible".

Since his election as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, Francis had made defence of the poor a hallmark of his papacy, often criticising developed nations and the excesses of capitalism and consumerism.

The 77-year-old pope, wearing white vestments for the service, prayed for the protection of those members of society who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and abandonment - women, children, the elderly and immigrants.

He also used the Easter address to call attention to people suffering from war and violence around the world. He asked for peace in different areas of conflict.

The pope called on the international community to "boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue" in Syria, where more than 150,000 people have been killed in the civil war, a third of them civilians. Millions have fled the country.

Francis asked God to "enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and, in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country's future".

He also asked for an end to violence in Iraq, Venezuela, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic.

The Easter Sunday services were the culmination of four hectic days of Holy Week activities for the pontiff.


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Tags:  World  Vatican  Pope Francis  Easter  





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