Testimonies from five continents

31 May 2024

The following is a translation of the testimonials Pope Francis heard during his meeting with children at Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 25 May.

Europe — Eugenia, Ukraine

My name is Eugenia and I’m from Ukraine. The first thing I would like to say is that I want peace. I don’t want a war between Ukraine and Russia, which are two important countries for me. For me the war began the night I heard a bomb drop. From that day on, I have been afraid of war. I don’t want children to hear bombs falling and see their friends and relatives dead. I left Ukraine and came to Italy because of the war. I thank Italy for welcoming me and I say enough with war, I ask for peace.

Middle East — Victor, Palestine

My name is Victor. I am Catholic, and was born and baptized in Bethlehem, the same city as Baby Jesus. My city is closed off by a wall, a long wall that looks like a snake coiled around us. Sometimes we feel like we are suffocating, especially when they close the exit gates, which they call checkpoints.

Pope Francis, you can’t imagine how happy we will be when we will finally be able to go out. I heard that there are many wars in the world, but I want to ask you a question.

How is it our fault that we children were born in Bethlehem or Jerusalem or Gaza? We just want to play, study, live freely, like many other children in the world. Pray for us, teach us a special prayer so that we may bring peace to the hearts of all.

Oceania — Mila, New Zealand

My name is Mila and I come from New Zealand. My country is very beautiful: we have beautiful national parks, you can see the whales, there are very tall mountains. Yet in the last few years there have been more and more floods. I am little, but I think that we all have the duty to commit to stopping pollution. We have to protect our planet and our countries which are all so beautiful. Let’s make the planet liveable again. Let’s plant trees, let’s not consume too much, let’s use public transportation. Today I would like to say to everyone: enough with pollution, let’s protect nature, let’s protect the earth so that we can all live a better life and we children can have a future.

South America — Mateo, Argentina

My name is Mateo and I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I want to share my joys with all of you here today: a family that accompanies me, loves me and embraces me, my friends from school, my football friends, the children from the parish church. Sometimes I speak to my Mom and Dad about the things that make me anxious and sad: children who have no food, children who are sick, children involved in wars, children who are homeless. As we do at school every day, I would like us to continue to ask to be more like Jesus and to have a heart like his. Thank you, Pope Francis, for the first World Children’s Day. We love you very much and we pray for you.

Asia — Rahel, Afghanistan

My name is Rahel Saya, a refugee student from Afghanistan, an aspiring journalist, a human rights activist for women and children, and above all, a woman from a place called Afghanistan. My country is the only one in the world in which women are deprived of their most basic human rights. They are not allowed to do anything. They cannot study, they cannot work and they cannot even freely leave the house. Let’s give a voice to the current condition of women and children in Afghanistan and let’s not leave them alone. If the women and children of a country are good then a generation, a society and a nation will be good.