KRAKOW, Poland — Before heading to an evening prayer vigil with youth, Pope Francis made an unannounced stop at a Franciscan monastery housing the relics of two martyrs, where he prayed for peace and an end to violence.
“O almighty and merciful God, Lord of the universe and of history: All is good, and your compassion for the mistakes of mankind knows no limits,” Francis said in the opening of the July 30 prayer.
He asked that God sow “peace the world and its people” and to keep “the devastating wave of terrorism” far from them.
The Pope also prayed for all those who have died as victims of “brutal terrorist attacks” and invoked the intercession of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eliminating the threat of terrorism and in sowing peace and forgiveness in the heart of each person.
According to a July 30 Vatican communiqué, the Pope stopped by the monastery and Church of St. Francis around 6pm local time in Krakow, while on his way to a prayer vigil with youth participating in WYD.
The church is home to relics of two Polish martyrs, Blessed Zbigniew Strzałkowski and Michał Tomaszek, who were killed in hatred of the faith on Aug. 9, 1991, by guerilla forces of the Shining Path terrorist organization in Pariacoto, Peru.
The friars came to Pariacoto as missionaries in the 1990s and were gunned down by the terrorists after only a short period of time in region. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints opened the cause for martyrdom in 1995, and they were beatified in Pariacoto Dec. 5, 2015, alongside Italian priest Father Alessandro Dordi, from the Diocese of Bergamo.
Apart from the Franciscan friars, the Pope and his delegation, the only others present were some of the martyr’s family members.
Pope Francis’ prayer in front of the martyrs comes just days after French priest Father Jacques Hamel was brutally killed by teenage ISIS sympathizers while saying Mass at his parish in the Archdiocese of Rouen.
The priest’s death took place just over a week after a teenage Afghan Islamist went on an axe rampage in Würzburg, Germany, which left several passengers severely wounded. More recently, around 80 people were killed and 230 people wounded after two explosions struck the Afghan city of Kabul July 16.
In less than two years, France has witnessed several deadly attacks attributed to Islamic State militants, with the most recent – and second deadliest – taking place earlier this month. On July 14, 84 people were killed in Nice, France, when a Tunisian man intentionally drove a large truck through a crowded beach street at high speed during a Bastille Day celebration.
On Nov. 13, 2015, nearly 130 people were killed in a series of attacks throughout Paris. In January of that same year, a total of 12 people were killed in the French capital after terrorists stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
Other European cities in Belgium and Germany were also the site of deadly attacks in 2015. The Pope’s prayer is significant, timely and seemingly needed more than ever.
Here is the full text of Pope Francis’ prayer at the Church of St. Francis:
O almighty and merciful God, Lord of the universe and of history: All is good, and your compassion for the mistakes of mankind knows no limits.
We come to you today to ask you to keep in peace the world and its people, to keep far away from it the devastating wave of terrorism, to restore friendship and instill in the hearts of your creatures the gift of trust and of readiness to forgive.
O Giver of Life, we pray to you also for all those who have died as victims of brutal terrorist attacks. Grant them their eternal reward. May they intercede for the world that is torn apart by conflicts and disagreements.
O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to you for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence: children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with your strength and, at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.
Holy Spirit Consoler, visit the families of the victims of terrorism, families that suffer through no fault of their own. Wrap them in the mantle of your Divine Mercy. Make them find again in you and in themselves the strength and courage to continue to be brothers and sisters for others, above all for immigrants, giving witness to your love by their lives.
Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognize the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for the life and for the dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty.
O God, Eternal Father, in your mercy, hear our prayer, which we raise up to you amidst the deafening noise and desperation of the world. We turn to you with great hope, full of trust in your infinite mercy. Made strong by the examples of the blessed martyrs of Perú, Zbigniew and Michael, who have rendered courageous testimony to the Gospel, to the point of offering their blood, we entrust ourselves to the intercession of your most holy Mother. We ask for the gift of peace and of the elimination from our midst of the sore of terrorism.
Through Christ our Lord.