By BosNewsLife News Center
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN (BosNewsLife)– Pope Francis urged the international community on Easter Monday, April 6, not to remain “silent and inactive” amid the “unacceptable crime” of the persecution of Christians around the world.
In made the remarks while speaking to the Shalom Catholic Community, a movement of Christians focused on evangelism.
The Community backed a rally which ended in St. Peter’s Square to show solidarity with and raise awareness of persecuted Christians, Vatican Radio reported.
“Your itinerary on the streets is over, but what must continue on the part of all is the spiritual journey of prayer, intense prayer,” the pope said.
It should involve, he added, “the concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, for the only reason of being a Christian.”
He spoke just days after at least 147 people, most of them Christians, were killed on Thursday, April 2, when Islamist militant group al Shabaab stormed a Kenyan university campus in the town of Garissa.
The pope called those persecuted for their faith the “martyrs” of today. “And they are many. We are able to say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries,” Pope Francis said.
“I sincerely hope that the international community does not look the other way.”
He earlier urged pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that “Christ is risen!” and added that in “Him, through our Baptism, we are risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love.”
SPREADING GOOD NEWS
With many suffering for that faith, he urged those listening to continue realizing that believers are called to carry the “Good News…to others in every environment, animated by the Holy Spirit.”
He said, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters…” the pope added.
“Therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is risen,” he urged the crowd, inviting them to repeat the phrase with him three times in the Square.
Pope Francis said the Good News of the Resurrection should “shine on our face, in our feelings and in our behaviour, in the way in which we treat others.”