By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has made dramatic appeals for Lebanon and praying for a global end of nuclear arms.

After his Sunday Angelus, the Pontiff recalled the deadly explosions in Beirut and the Japanese bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, from his window to socially distant faithful in St. Peter’s Square, after praying the midday Angelus.

The Argentine Pontiff who made an Apostolic Trip to Japan in November 2019 and visited both bombed cities, recently wrote a message recalling the 75th anniversary.

On Sunday, the Holy Father began recalling that 75 years ago, in August 1945, the tragic atomic bombings took place.

On the 75th anniversary of the atomic explosion at Hiroshima, let us remember that resources used in the arms race could and should be used instead to promote integral human development and to protect the natural environment. #Hiroshima75

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 6, 2020

“While I recall the visit I made to those places last year with deep emotion and gratitude,” he said, he appealed: “I renew the invitation to pray and the commitment to a world completely free of nuclear weapons.”

Pope Francis then stressed that in these days, “my thoughts often turn to Lebanon.” He quickly observed among the faithful in the square: “There I see a Lebanese flag, a group of Lebanese
people.”

“Last Tuesday’s catastrophe calls everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country,” he said.

Lebanon, he applauded, has a “particular identity, fruit of the encounter of different cultures, that has emerged over the course of time as a model of living together.”

“Certainly,” he acknowledged, “this coexistence is now very fragile, we know this, but I am praying that, with God’s help and everyone’s genuine participation, it may be reborn free and strong.”

“I invite the Church in Lebanon,” the Holy Father urged, “to be close to the people on their Calvary, as she has been doing in these days, with solidarity and compassion, with heart and hands open to sharing.”

Let us again pray for #Lebanon: after the catastrophe, for its particular identity, fruit of the encounter of different cultures, that with God’s help and everyone’s genuine participation, it may be reborn free and strong.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 9, 2020

To the International Community, he reiterated a request: “Moreover, I renew the appeal for generous aid on the part of the international community.”

“And please, I ask the bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon,” he added, “to be close to the people and to live a style of life marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people are suffering, suffering a lot.”

The Pope went on to greet everyone present, including those from Rome and pilgrims from various countries. “there are many flags here,” he said. “In particular, I greet the youth from Pianengo, in the Diocese of Crema – there you are…, loud! – who have undertaken the Via Francigena from Viterbo to Rome.”

He told the young pilgrims who walked that long way: “Good for you, congratulations!”

The Argentinian Pontiff also gave a cordial greeting to the participants in the Tour de Pologne, noting “there are many Polish people here!” Francis remembered that the international cycling race this year is in memory of Saint John Paul II during the centenary of his birth.

Pope Francis concluded, wishing all those present a happy Sunday, and saying “please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch!”

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