Praying that God would protect Egypt from all evil, Pope Francis told the nation’s people that a world torn apart by indiscriminate violence needs courageous builders of peace, dialogue and justice.
“I hope that this visit will be an embrace of consolation and of encouragement to all Christians in the Middle East; a message of friendship and esteem to all inhabitants of Egypt and the region; a message of fraternity and reconciliation to all children of Abraham, particularly in the Islamic world,” the pope said in a video message broadcast on 25th April, ahead of his trip to Cairo, which will take place on 28th to 29th April.
“I hope that it may also offer a valid contribution to interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerated and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church,” he said.
The pope thanked all those who invited him to Egypt, those who were working to make the trip possible and those “who make space for me in your hearts.”
He said he was “truly happy to come as a friend, as a messenger of peace and as a pilgrim to the country that gave, more than 2,000 years ago, refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family fleeing from the threats of King Herod.”
Picture: Women pray during Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cairo ahead of Pope Francis’ visit. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters).