Pope Francis, delivering the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message on Easter Sunday, emphasized the plight of migrants and the displaced while encouraging hope for Africans living in troubled nations.
The pope’s annual message followed Easter Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, during which the Roman Catholic Church leader affirmed the central Christian teaching of the resurrection of Jesus and its role as an eternal cornerstone in what he called our throw-away culture.
During his public message, Pope Francis spoke to the sorrows of Syria and Yemen, but also South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The Risen Shepherd tirelessly seeks us, his brothers and sisters, wandering in the deserts of this world,” the pope said in his address. “He goes in search of all those lost in the labyrinths of loneliness and marginalization. … He takes upon himself all those victimized by old and new forms of slavery.”
The pontiff expressed hope that the Good Shepherd will remain close to those whose nations are torn by ethnic and civil wars, who “endure continuing hostilities” and whose lives are threatened by famine.
That hope extended to migrants fleeing crisis in their home countries, and an appeal for justice and peace among world leaders who must have “the courage they need to prevent the spread of conflicts and to put a halt to the arms trade.”
Pope Francis plans a trip to Egypt on April 28, where he will meet with Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and stand in support with Coptic Christians most recently targeted by bomb attacks on Palm Sunday.
The full text of the Urbi et Orbi address, in multiple languages, is linked here.
Image: L’Osservatore Romano