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Pope leads special prayers for Rohingya

Pontiff urges Christians to help victims of human trafficking and migrants

Updated: February 09, 2017 05:18 AM GMT
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Pope leads special prayers for Rohingya

Pope Francis holds up an icon of Sudanese saint Josephine Bakhita during a general audience at the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican on Feb. 8. (Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP)

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Marking the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a former slave, Pope Francis urged Christians to help victims of human trafficking and migrants, especially the Rohingya people being chased from Myanmar.

For the Catholic Church, St. Bakhita's feast day, Feb. 8, is a day of prayer for victims of trafficking.

Pope Francis asked government officials around the world to "decisively combat this plague" of human trafficking, paying particular attention to trafficking in children. "Every effort must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime."

"Let us pray to St. Josephine Bakhita for all migrants and refugees who are exploited and suffer so much," the pope said.

"And speaking of migrants who are exploited and chased away, I want to pray with you today in a special way for our Rohingya brothers and sisters," the pope continued. "These people, thrown out of Myanmar, move from one place to another because no one wants them."

Pope Francis told the estimated 7,000 people at his audience that the Rohingya, who are Muslim, "are good people. They are our brothers and sisters. They have been suffering for years. They have been tortured, killed, just because they want to keep their traditions and their Muslim faith."

He led the audience in praying the Lord's Prayer "for our Rohingya brothers and sisters."

In a report released Feb. 3, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said since October, there had been escalating violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar. The report cited eyewitness reports of mass gang-rape, killings — including of babies and young children — beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by the country's security forces.

An estimated 66,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since October, the report said.

Full Story: At audience, pope leads prayers for migrants, trafficking victims

Source: Catholic News Service

 

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