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Plateau Massacre: Pope prays for families of victims

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Pope pulls out of Easter event over health concerns

Pope Francis, in a sincere response to the awful loss of life on Christmas Eve in Nigeria, has expressed prayers and regrets to the families who were victims of the cruel attacks in Plateau State.

Over 150 people were massacred by armed groups in many communities across the state’s Mangu and Bokkos LGAs, putting a pall over the global Christmas celebration and forcing Pope Francis to resign.

The Pope addressed the current violence after delivering his normal Angelus message on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, the celebration of Christmas in Nigeria was marked by serious violence in the State of Plateau, with many victims. I am praying for them and their families. May God free Nigeria from these atrocities!” he said.

Pope Francis also recognized others who are suffering around the world, including the victims of a tanker truck explosion in Liberia and those caught in the midst of violence in Ukraine, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, and among the Rohingya.

“At the end of a year, let us have the courage to ask ourselves: How many human lives have been broken by armed conflict? How many are dead? And how much destruction, suffering, and poverty?” he reflected.

The Pope exhorted people with vested interests in these wars to listen to their consciences and consider the human cost of their actions.

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Prior to his heartbreaking remarks on the recent bloodshed, Pope Francis spoke about the richness of family life, drawing analogies between the challenges of Jesus Christ’s earthly family and those encountered by families today.

He delivered a message of solidarity to families in difficulty, saying, “If you are facing difficulties, I know what you are experiencing. I experienced it. I, my mother, and my father experienced it, so we can say to your family too: You are not alone.”

He advised families to take solace in the fact that God understands human sorrow and struggles.

Despite their unique role in history, he emphasized the humility and simplicity of Christ’s earthly family.

In addition to his advice on family life, Pope Francis urged parents to’marvel’ at each other and to prioritize their children and the elderly.

He discussed the value of tenderness between couples, the miracle of life with children, the wisdom of grandparents, and the distinctive love tales that each family bears.

“Do you find time to play with your children? To take them for a walk? … And then, to marvel at the wisdom of grandparents: many times, we shut grandparents out of our lives. Grandparents are a source of wisdom,” he advocated, underscoring the value of intergenerational bonds.

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