The Virgin Mary is the “Eucharistic Woman,” Pope Francis noted on September 25, at the close of the national Eucharistic conference in Matera, Italy, in the far south of the country.
The Holy Father entrusted to her a number of intentions, but the first, which he said he “dared to ask for” was for Italy: “more births, more children.”
The birthrate in Italy is a point of concern for the Pope, which he has mentioned on a number of occasions.
In 2020, only 404,892 births were registered (15,000 less than in 2019) with an average of 1.24 children per woman. Experts are worried that this trend will have disastrous effects as early as 2050.
“The world’s most urgent needs”
The Pope went on to pray for Myanmar:
“For more than two years that noble country has been martyred by serious armed clashes and violence, which have caused many victims and displaced persons. This week I heard the cry of grief at the death of children in a bombed school. We see that in today’s world there is a trend for bombing schools. May the cry of these little ones not go unheard! These tragedies must not happen!”
“Mary, Queen of Peace, comfort the martyred Ukrainian people,” he said:
Obtain from the heads of Nations the strength of will immediately to find effective initiatives to bring the war to an end.
I join in the appeal of the bishops of Cameroon for the liberation of some people kidnapped in the diocese of Mamfe, including five priests and a religious sister. I pray for them and for the populations of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda: May the Lord give peace to hearts and to the social life of that dear country.
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Pope Francis also noted that today is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which this year has the theme: “Building the future with migrants and refugees.”
The Pope called for a renewal in commitment to “building the future in accordance with God’s plan.”
In this future, he said “every person may find his or her place and be respected; in which migrants, refugees, displaced persons and the victims of human trafficking may live in peace and with dignity.”
Migrants are part of what helps communities to grow, he said, and “the sharing of diverse traditions enriches the People of God.”
Let us all work together to build a more inclusive and fraternal future! Migrants must be welcomed, accompanied, supported and integrated.