Catholic World News

Pope appeals for prayers for persecuted Christians

December 26, 2016

During his St. Stephen’s Day Angelus address, Pope Francis recalled the martyrdom of St. Stephen and appealed for prayers for persecuted Christians.

“The protomartyr Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, was stoned because he confessed his faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” the Pope said on December 26 to pilgrims who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “By choosing the truth, he became at the same time the victim of the mystery of evil present in the world—but Christ has conquered.”

“Today, too, the Church, to bear witness to the light and the truth, is experiencing severe persecution in different places, up to the supreme test of martyrdom,” he continued. “How many of our brothers and sisters in faith suffer abuse, violence, and are hated because of Jesus … Today we want to think about them and be close to them with our affection, our prayer, and also our tears.”

After paying tribute to the fidelity of the persecuted Christians of Iraq, the Pope added:

In making space within our heart for the Son of God who gives himself to us at Christmas, we renew the joyous and courageous willingness to follow him faithfully as our only guide, persevering in living in accordance with the Gospel mentality and refusing the mentality of those who dominate this world.

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