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Coptic Patriarch, Pope concelebrate Mass, pray for faithful in Middle East

Catholic World News - December 09, 2013

Pope Francis concelebrated Mass on December 8 with the leader of the Coptic Catholic Church, and offered a prayer that “peace may always arise again from the all too frequent and often dramatic interruptions” in the Middle East.

Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrik of Alexandria joined the Pope at Mass in the Domus Santae Marthae in a gesture of ecclesiastical communion. In his homily the Pontiff spoke about the need for peace in the Middle East:

Let us pray for the rapid reinstatement of peace agreements, often paralyzed by opposed and obscure interests. Let there finally be real guarantees of religious freedom for all, along with the right of Christians to live serenely where they are born, in the homeland they have loved as citizens for two thousand years, to contribute as always to the good of all. May the Lord Jesus, who experienced flight with the Holy Family and was received in your generous land, watch over Egyptians on their travels throughout the world in search of dignity and security.

The Coptic prelate, in his own remarks, said that the small but faithful Catholic community in Egypt “needs to be supported by the paternal embrace” of the Roman Pontiff, and said that the Catholics of that country are anxious to welcome a visit by the Pope—or by any other Christians.

The Patriarch said that as the Church prepares to celebrate the Nativity, the faithful should recall “the historical bond between my land and this mystery, from the moment in which the first place to welcome the Holy Family in flight from Herod's persecutions was none other than Egypt.”

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