By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis has inaugurated a Year of Prayer ahead of the 2025 Jubilee, calling on the faithful “to intensify prayer to prepare us to live well this event of grace and to experience the power of God’s hope.”
In remarks after the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father explained that the Year of Prayer is dedicated “to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer, prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church, prayer in the world.”
He added that the Dicastery for Evangelization will be preparing materials to assist in celebrating the Year.
Prayer for Christian unity, peace in the world
The Pope invited Christians to pray especially for Christian unity, and “to not tire of invoking the Lord for peace in Ukraine, in Israel and Palestine, and in so many other parts of the world,” including Ecuador.
Once again he emphasized that those who suffer most from the lack of peace are the weakest among us. “I think of the little ones,” Pope Francis said, “the many children who are injured and killed, those who are deprived of affection, deprived of their dreams and their future.”
“Let us all be aware of our responsibility to pray and to build peace for them!”
Kidnappings in Haiti
Focusing on the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Pope Francis said, “I have learned with sorrow the news of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six religious sisters.”
The abduction took place in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Friday, when armed men stopped a minibus and took the passengers hostage.
In his remarks on Sunday, the Pope appealed “earnestly” for the release of all the hostages, while praying for “social harmony” in the country. “I call on everyone to stop the vioence,” he said, “which causes so much suffering to that dear population.”