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Pope Francis on Easter Monday: May Mary intercede for persecuted Christians

AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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In light of the Resurrection, “we are called to be men and women who affirm the value of life.”

VATICAN CITY — On Easter Monday, as Italy celebrates the second day in Easter Octave, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims and visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, praying especially for Christians who are persecuted for their faith.

Speaking from the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace, before the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the pope said today’s liturgy echoes the great cry of Easter Sunday, ‘Christ is Risen, Alleluia!’

“We hear the words of the angel to the women at the tomb, saying ‘Go quickly and tell his disciples, he has been raised from the dead.’”

Those words are directed also to us, the pope said, and invite us to go quickly and proclaim this message of joy and hope to the women and men of our day. The message that death and the tomb have not had the last word, but that Christ is Risen, bringing new life to all.

Solidarity and welcome

In light of this event, Pope Francis said, “we are called to be men and women who affirm the value of life.” In the midst of so much suffering in the world, he said, we will be witnesses to the Resurrection if we are able to offer gestures of solidarity and welcome, strengthening the “universal desire for peace.”

Transformed by the Spirit

Those ordinary, human gestures, sustained by faith in the Risen Lord, the Pope said, will be transformed by the Spirit and take on new strength to reach into every heart, freeing us from wretchedness and bringing hope to the suffering and oppressed.

Courageous witness of faith

“May the Virgin Mary, the silent witness to the death and Resurrection of her son Jesus, help us to be clear signs of the Risen Christ amid world events,” the Pope said, “so that all those who are suffering distress and difficulty do not remain victims of pessimism, defeat and resignation, but find in us, brothers and sisters who offer them support and comfort.”

May our Mother help us to believe strongly in the Resurrection of Jesus: Jesus is Risen. He is alive here among us; and this is a wondrous mystery of salvation that has the capacity to transform hearts and lives.

Pope Francis concluded, praying that Mary might intercede in a special way for “the Christian communities who are persecuted and oppressed that … in so many parts of the world, are called to a more difficult and courageous witness.”

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