Pope Francis on June 13, 2021, expressed his concern about the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The Holy Father’s remarks came after praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“Dear brothers and sisters! I am especially close to the population of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, struck by a grave humanitarian crisis that could expose the poorest people to famine,” the Holy Father said. “Today there is famine; there is famine there. Let us pray together that the violence may cease immediately, that food and health assistance be guaranteed to everyone, and that social harmony be restored as soon as possible. In this regard, I thank all those who work to alleviate the people’s suffering. Let us pray to Our Lady for these intentions. Hail Mary….
“Genocide is happening in Tigray,” reports sources close to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
The targeting of young people, indiscriminate killings, and widespread sexual violence – including the rape of nuns – is part of a genocide against the Tigrayan ethnic group of northern Ethiopia, according to a source close to the Church.
“It is not possible to close our eyes before the exploitation of children, deprived of the right to play, to study, and to dream, Francis said. “According to the estimates of the International Labour Organization, more than 150 million children are exploited by labor: this is a tragedy! 150 million: more or less like the inhabitants of Spain, together with France and Italy. This is happening today! So many children who suffer this: exploited by child labor. Let us all together renew the effort to eliminate this slavery of our times.”
The Pope concluded his list of lamentations by noting the planned ceremony today in Augusta, Sicily to make the arrival of the remains of the shipwreck of April 18, 2015. That tragedy claimed 700 lives, with only 28 survivors.
“May this symbol of so many tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea continue to challenge everyone’s conscience and foster the growth of a more supportive humanity, that tears down the wall of indifference,” the Pope said. “Let us think: the Mediterranean has become Europe’s largest cemetery.”
On a more positive note, the Holy Father reminded those in the square and listening via media around the world that tomorrow, June 14, is World Blood Donor Day:
“I sincerely thank the volunteers and I encourage them to continue their work, bearing witness to the values of generosity and gratuitousness. Thank you very much, thank you!”