By Devin Watkins
As he does most Sundays, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to current events following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
His first appeal was for flood-hit populations in Vietnam, where at least one person has died and over 7,000 people have been evacuated.
“My prayers and thoughts go out to the many families who are suffering, as well as my encouragement for the civil and local Church authorities who are working to respond to this emergency,” said the Pope.
The flooding in central Vietnam was set off by Tropical Depression “Invest” which moved across the Southeast Asian nation.
Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to people on the southern Italian island of Sicily, which has seen bad weather over the past week.
A “medicane” – or Mediterranean hurricane – tore through the eastern part of Sicily, and left at least three people dead.
The Pope then turned his attention to the Haitian people, who are “living in borderline conditions.”
“I ask the authorities of various nations to help this country, and to not leave them alone,” he urged, asking everyone to pray for the people of Haiti.
“Let us not abandon them,” the Pope repeated.
Violence and gang-related activity has spiraled out of control in recent months, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
In one instance, 17 Christian missionaries have been kidnapped by a powerful gang in the capital of Port-au-Prince, which is demanding a ransom of US$17 million. Negotiations for their release are ongoing.
Pope Francis also recalled the opening on Sunday evening of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Over 30,000 activists, political leaders, journalists, and others are gathering in the Scottish city to kick start efforts to combat climate change and limit global warming.
“Let us pray that the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor might be heard,” said the Pope. “May this encounter give effective responses, offering concrete hope to future generations.”
He then mentioned a Laudato si’-themed photographic exhibition which opened on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square and features the work of a photographer originally from Bangladesh.
Finally, the Pope recalled the four new Blesseds who were beatified in the Spanish city of Tortosa on Saturday.
He said Francisco Cástor Sojo López, Millán Garde Serrano, Manuel Galcerá Videllet, and Aquilino Pastor were killed in hatred of the faith during the Spanish civil war.
“During the religious persecution of the 1930s, they remained faithful to their ministry even at great risk to their own lives,” said Pope Francis. “May their witness be a model especially for priests.”
The Pope’s Agenda