Pope Francis was speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square before the weekly recitation of the Angelus.
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The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity dates back to the 19th century when Pope Leo XIII encouraged the practice of a Prayer Octave for Unity.
Pope Francis Reminds Faithful to Pray Since Jesus Prayed at His Baptism; Appeals for End to Violence in Kazakhstan
Speaking after reciting the Angelus on Jan. 9, he prayed for peace following unprecedented unrest in the Central Asian country.
The Pope said that this Sunday’s Gospel reading offered a good example of why it was necessary to meditate deeply on the Scriptures.
According to Pope Francis, it is easy to spend time assigning blame, “but spending time blaming others is wasting time.”
The Pope said that Jesus’ “Bread of Life” statement summed up “his entire being and mission.”
Speaking from a window of the apostolic palace, Pope Francis said Jesus “can do a lot with one of our prayers, with a gesture of charity for others, even with one of our sufferings handed over to His mercy.”
Pope Francis said that even when Catholic hospitals face economic difficulties, it is vital to remember that “the Church’s vocation is not to have money, but to serve, and service is always free.”
The Holy Father also announced he will travel to Slovakia in September as part of Vatican-confirmed scheduled trip.