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What Pope Francis said about Gaza killings, violence in middle

16 May 2018

"I am very anxious and distressed by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and in the Middle East and by the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations", the Pope said May 16.

"I express my great sorrow for the dead and wounded and with prayer and affection I am close to all who suffer", he said at Wednesday's general audience. "War incites war, violence incites violence".

"We must truly pray to the Spirit to change our hearts to better understand his will and to give us the strength to continue to work for justice and peace", the archbishop said.

On Monday, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.

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Francis didn't single out either the Israelis or the Palestinians in his comments, instead urging all sides and the global community to 'renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail'.

He led those at the audience in praying a Hail Mary, invoking "Mary, Queen of Peace" and concluding with the prayer, "May God have mercy on us!"

"We need to pray more for peace and our conversion and for all", said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the patriarchate, or diocese.

To "put on Christ", as St. Paul explains in his letter to the Colossians, is to cultivate the virtues of "heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another ..."

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"We are called to receive [the candle's] splendor!" he said.

Giving the newly baptized a candle lit from the paschal candle represents the risen Christ they have received, he said.

"I was in Ausonia in the year '59".

Children have a right to be brought up in the Christian faith, Pope Francis said. If children are being baptised, then it is the task of parents and godparents to nurture the flame, helping them to persevere in their faith.

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What Pope Francis said about Gaza killings, violence in middle