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Pope urges prayers, aid for the 'great tribulation' of Syria

21 June, 2013 - Calling the Syrian conflict "a great tribulation," Pope Francis said tensions throughout the Middle East must give way to dialogue and reconciliation. "Once again, from the depths of my heart, I appeal to leaders of nations and international organizations, to believers of every religion and to all men and women of good will to put an end to the suffering, all the violence and every form of religious, cultural and social discrimination," the Pope said. "Conflict that sows death must give way to encounter and reconciliation, which bring life," the Pope said on Thursday during a meeting with two dozen Catholic charitable and funding agencies that assist the Eastern Catholic churches and Catholics throughout the Middle East. The agencies grouped under the “Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches”, known by its Italian acronym ROACO, met June 18-20 focussing on Egypt, Iraq, Syria and the Holy Land. Citing the words of the Book of Revelation, the pope prayed for those suffering through a "great tribulation. And this truly is a great tribulation." Pope Francis said also Catholics must be grateful to their brothers and sisters in the Middle East and members of the Eastern Catholic churches who have kept their faith despite suffering and even persecution. To all those who are suffering, the Pope urged, “Never lose hope! The church is alongside you, accompanies you and supports you." Pope Francis also thanked the funding agencies who assist others with a charity that flows from the love of God. (Source: CNS)


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