- Mar 4, 2021
As Pope Francis packed his bags to travel internationally for the first time in 15 months, news stories were flashing warnings about the dangers of his March 5-8 visit to Iraq, not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of Iraq’s long-term security problems, including bomb and rocket attacks.
Pope Francis has named Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the office that advises the pope on the nomination of bishops around the world.
Pope Francis told the people of Iraq he was going to their country as a “penitential pilgrim,” asking God’s forgiveness for years of war, persecution and destruction, and as a “pilgrim of peace.”
There is no greater love in the world than the love God has for humanity, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis appealed for an end to deadly violence against protesters in Myanmar, calling on the military junta to free political prisoners and let dialogue and the journey toward democracy prevail.
Pope Francis on Wednesday asked for prayers for his upcoming trip to Iraq, noting that the Iraqi people have been waiting for a papal visit since Pope St. John Paul II was prevented from going in 1999: “A people cannot be disappointed twice.”
For the next World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis wants Catholics to focus on greater communion and unity among all people.
People should fast from gossiping and spreading hearsay as part of their Lenten journey, Pope Francis said.