Pope Francis and religious leaders of the major world religions gathered in Rome for an international and interreligious Meeting for Peace organized by the Community of Saint Egidio. Present at the Meeting in Rome’s Capitoline Square, were also political leaders who symbolically received a text of the 2020 Appeal for Peace.
Meanwhile, during this event Pope Francis wore a mask for the first time at a public function on Tuesday when he and other religious leaders attended a prayer service for peace around the world.
The pope wore a white mask during the service at the Rome Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Previously he wore masks only in a car taking him to his weekly audiences in the Vatican.
Pope Francis set the tone of his speech on Tuesday by recalling the historic Assisi Meeting desired by Saint Pope John Paul II on 27 October 1986, in which for the first time in Church history the Pope invited leaders of other religions to join him in prayer for peace for the human family.
“Believers have understood that religious differences do not justify indifference or enmity. Rather, on the basis of our religious faith we are enabled to become peacemakers, rather than standing passively before the evil of war and hatred,” he said.
For this reason, he continued, this gathering is an encouragement “to religious leaders and to all believers to pray fervently for peace, never resigned to war, but working with the gentle strength of faith to end conflicts.”
“We need peace! More peace! We cannot remain indifferent,” the Pope appealed, noting that the world has a profound thirst for peace.