“May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”
Pope Francis assured his prayers for the victims of two terror attacks on churches today in Egypt.
Bombs detonated by suicide bombers resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people, at St. George’s Church in Tanta and at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria.
“We pray for the victims claimed this morning,” Pope Francis said after praying the midday Angelus with those in St. Peter’s Square.
“To my dear brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II,” Pope Francis continued, “to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my deep condolences. I pray for the dead and the injured, and I am close in spirit to the family members [of the deceased and injured] and to the entire community.”
5 Things to know about Coptic Christians
Pope Francis went on to pray, “May the Lord convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”
According to the New York Times, the patriarch of the Egyptian Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was in the Alexandria church during the attack, but was not injured.
Pope Francis will be visiting Egypt later this month, on April 28-29 (see full schedule below).
Last December, a suicide bomber killed 28 people at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack and for those of today.
Christ is present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own
Pope Francis led Mass for Palm Sunday earlier today. During his homily, he spoke of the sufferings of God’s people.
So as we joyfully acclaim our King, let us also think of the sufferings that he will have to endure in this week. Let us think of the slanders and insults, the snares and betrayals, the abandonment to an unjust judgment, the blows, the lashes and the crown of thorns… And lastly, the way of the cross leading to the crucifixion. He had spoken clearly of this to his disciples: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). Jesus never promised honour and success. The Gospels make this clear. […] This Jesus, who accepts the hosannas of the crowd, knows full well that they will soon be followed by the cry: “Crucify him!” He does not ask us to contemplate him only in pictures and photographs, or in the videos that circulate on the internet. No. He is present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own: they suffer from slave labour, from family tragedies, from diseases… They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike. Women and men who are cheated, violated in their dignity, discarded… Jesus is in them, in each of them, and, with marred features and broken voice, he asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved.
Here is the schedule of Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt later this month:
Friday 28 April 2017
10.45 Departure by air from Rome-Fiumicino airport for Cairo
14.00 Arrival at Cairo International Airport: official welcome and welcome ceremony
Courtesy visit to the grand imam of Al-Azhar
Address to participants in an international conference on peace
16.40 Meeting with the Authorities
Courtesy visit to Pope Tawadros II
Saturday 29 April 2017
12.15 Lunch with Egyptian bishops and the Papal entourage
15.15 Prayer meeting with the clergy, religious and seminarians
17.00 Departure by air from Cairo International Airport
20.30 Arrival at Rome-Ciampino Airport