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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
â€śMay 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,â€ť he said.
The pope also called on â€śthe Saviorâ€ť to support the prospects of dialogue and cooperation in Myanmar, in the pursuit of shared solutions,â€ť 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 Peterâ€™s Basilica in Rome, where he delivered his customary â€śUrbi et Urbi (to the City and to the World) message.
The pope also invited Christians to pray for â€śthe many people who experience particularly difficult situationsâ€ť and to â€śspeak out for those who have no voice.â€ť
He singled out a few crisis areas in particular, including â€śan end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed, and for â€śpeace and stabilityâ€ť for the Holy Land, encouraging â€śthe resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.â€ť
Todayâ€™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 Peterâ€™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 yearâ€™s Christmas homily, the pope called on Christians to look through the â€śsuperficial glitterâ€ť of the holiday season and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.