At the end of Mass on Wednesday, 14 September, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for the hospitality shown to him during his Apostolic Journey. He also expressed his concern for Ukraine and “all the war-torn areas of our world”, saying, “May we never grow accustomed to war, or resigned to its inevitability”. The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s words.
Thank you, Archbishop Peta, for your kind words. Thank you too for all the effort that went into the preparation for this celebration and for my Visit. I also renew the expression of my heartfelt gratitude to the civil and religious authorities of the country. I greet all of you, brothers and sisters, and in particular those of you who have come from other countries of Central Asia and from the distant parts of this vast land. With great affection, I bless the elderly and the sick, the children and the young people.
Today, on this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we feel spiritually united to the National Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace in Oziornoje. Bishop Tomash reminded us of its great cross, inscribed with the words: “Gratitude to the People of Kazakhstan” and “Peace to Mankind”. Gratitude to the Lord for the holy people of God living in this great country, joined to gratitude for its commitment to promoting dialogue, becomes a plea for peace, the peace for which our world so deeply yearns.
My thoughts turn to all the war-torn areas of our world, and particularly beloved Ukraine. May we never grow accustomed to war, or resigned to its inevitability. Let us come to the aid of those who suffer and insist that genuine efforts be made to achieve peace. What still needs to happen, and how many deaths will it still take, before conflict yields to dialogue for the good of people, nations and all humanity? The one solution is peace and the only way to arrive at peace is through dialogue. I am troubled to learn that in these very hours there have been new outbreaks of tension in the Caucasus region. Let us continue to pray that, in these lands too, peaceful discussions and concord will prevail over disagreements. May our world learn how to build peace, not least by limiting the arms race and converting the enormous sums spent on war into concrete assistance to peoples. I thank all those who believe in this; I thank all of you, and all those men and women who are heralds of peace and unity!