21 April 2019 | Urbi et Orbi


Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica

Christ is alive and he remains with us. Risen, he shows us the light of his face, and
he does not abandon all those experiencing hardship, pain and sorrow. May he, the
Living One, be hope for the beloved Syrian people, victims of an ongoing conflict to
which we risk becoming ever more resigned and even indifferent. Now is instead the
time for a renewed commitment for a political solution able to respond to people’s
legitimate hopes for freedom, peace and justice, confront the humanitarian crisis and
favour the secure re-entry of the homeless, along with all those who have taken
refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon and Jordan.
Easter makes us keep our eyes fixed on the Middle East, torn by continuing divisions
and tensions. May the Christians of the region patiently persevere in their witness to
the Risen Lord and to the victory of life over death. I think in particular of the people
of Yemen, especially the children, exhausted by hunger and war. May the light of
Easter illumine all government leaders and peoples in the Middle East, beginning with
Israelis and Palestinians, and spur them to alleviate such great suffering and to
pursue a future of peace and stability.
May conflict and bloodshed cease in Libya, where defenceless people are once more
dying in recent weeks and many families have been forced to abandon their homes.
I urge the parties involved to choose dialogue over force and to avoid reopening
wounds left by a decade of conflicts and political instability.
May the Living Christ grant his peace to the entire beloved African continent, still rife
with social tensions, conflicts and at times violent forms of extremism that leave in
their wake insecurity, destruction and death, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger,
Nigeria and Cameroon. I think too of Sudan, presently experiencing a moment of
political uncertainty; it is my hope that all voices will be heard, and that everyone
will work to enable the country to find the freedom, development and well-being to
which it has long aspired.
May the Risen Lord accompany the efforts of the civil and religious authorities of
South Sudan, sustained by the fruits of the spiritual retreat held several days ago
here in the Vatican. May a new page open in the history of that country, in which all
political, social and religious components actively commit themselves to the pursuit
of the common good and the reconciliation of the nation.
May this Easter bring comfort to the people of the eastern regions of Ukraine, who
suffer from the continuing conflict. May the Lord encourage initiatives of humanitarian
aid and those aimed at pursuing a lasting peace.
May the joy of the resurrection fill the hearts of those who on the American continent
are experiencing the effects of difficult political and economic situations. I think in
particular of the Venezuelan people, of all those who lack the minimal conditions for
leading a dignified and secure life due to a crisis that endures and worsens. May the
Lord grant that all those with political responsibilities may work to end social
injustices, abuses and acts of violence, and take the concrete steps needed to heal
divisions and offer the population the help they need.
May the Risen Lord shed his light on the efforts made in Nicaragua to find as rapidly
as possible a peaceful negotiated solution for the benefit of the entire Nicaraguan
Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and
indifferent. May he make us builders of bridges, not walls. May the One who gives us
his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire
the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread
of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries. May the Risen
Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the
disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all
those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is alive! He is hope and youth for each of us and for
the entire world. May we let ourselves be renewed by him! Happy Easter!