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Pope prays for Southeast Asia

Christmas message includes intercession for Thai, Philippine flood victims and success in Myanmar political reforms

  • Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
  • Vatican City
  • December 26, 2011
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Pope Benedict XVI prayed for victims of flooding in Southeast Asia and for the success of national dialogue efforts in Myanmar during his traditional Christmas Day message.

“May the Lord grant comfort to the peoples of Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and the Philippines, who are still enduring grave hardships as a result of the recent floods,” he said.

The pope also called on “the Savior” to support the prospects of dialogue and cooperation in Myanmar, in the pursuit of shared solutions,” referring to ongoing talks between the government, the opposition and the international community for democratic reforms in the country and an end to conflicts in ethnic minority areas.

Pope Benedict spoke from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, where he delivered his customary “Urbi et Urbi (to the City and to the World) message.

The pope also invited Christians to pray for “the many people who experience particularly difficult situations” and to “speak out for those who have no voice.”

He singled out a few crisis areas in particular, including “an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed, and for “peace and stability” for the Holy Land, encouraging “the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Today’s midday Angelus prayer brought an end to a three-day marathon of Christmas celebrations for the 84-year-old pontiff beginning with the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in St Peter’s, where Pope Benedict for the first time used a moving platform introduced in October to alleviate the long walk while wearing heavy liturgical vestments.

During this year’s Christmas homily, the pope called on Christians to look through the “superficial glitter” of the holiday season and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.
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