Vatican City, 8 September 2013 (VIS) – “I would like to thank everyone who, in various ways, joined in the Vigil of Prayer and Fasting yesterday evening. I thank the many people who united the offering of their sufferings. I express my gratitude to the civil authorities, as well as to the members of other Christian communities and of other religions, and to men and women of good will who have undertaken, on this occasion, periods of prayer, fasting and reflection,” said the Pope after today’s Angelus.

“But the task remains: we move forward with prayer and works of peace. I invite you to continue to pray so that the violence and devastation in Syria may cease immediately and that a renewed effort be undertaken to achieve a just solution to this fratricidal conflict. Let us pray also for other countries in the Middle East, in particular for Lebanon, that it may find its hoped-for stability and continue to be a model of peaceful co-existence; for Iraq, that sectarian violence may give way to reconciliation; and that the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians may proceed with determination and courage. Finally, let us pray for Egypt, that all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, may commit themselves to build up together a society dedicated to the good of the whole population.

“The search for peace is long and demands patience and perseverance! Let us keep praying for this!”

The Pope concluded by mentioning that yesterday in Rovigo, Italy, Maria Bolognese was declared blessed. A laywoman of the region, she was born in 1924 and died in 1980. “She dedicated her entire life to the service of others”, the Pope said, “especially the poor and the sick, enduring great suffering in profound union with the passion of Christ. We give thanks to God for this witness to the Gospel.”