Evangelization prayer intention: Those distant from the Christian faith

That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.

God waits for us and never tires of forgiving us. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta.

The Holy Father reflected on the first reading from the prophet Hosea, which recalls God’s call to conversion and forgiveness for the people of Israel.

“Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD,” the reading states.

These words, the Pope said, are an exhortation from a Father to a son. “With these words alone, we can pass many hours of prayer.”

Universal prayer intention: Eliminate arms trade

That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.

[…] Peace. This word sums up every good to which every person and every human society aspires. Indeed, in the final analysis, the commitment with which we seek to foster diplomatic relations has no other scope than this: to foster the growth of peace in justice and development throughout the human family. This end has never been fully reached, it asks to be sought again and again by every generation, confronting the challenges that every epoch poses.

Evangelization prayer intention: Christians of Africa, witnesses for peace

That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.

Today Bangui becomes the spiritual capital of the world. The Holy Year of Mercy starts early in this land of Africa. A land which has suffered for years from war and hatred, lack of understanding, lack of peace; in this land of sufferings there are many countries bearing the cross of war. Bangui now becomes the spiritual capital of prayer for the Father’s mercy. Let us all implore peace, mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness and love. For Bangui, for the entire Central African Republic, for the whole world, for those countries experiencing war, let us ask for peace! Now, all together, let us ask for love and peace. […]

Universal prayer intention: Youth

That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.

[…] In Christ you find fulfilled your every desire for goodness and happiness. He alone can satisfy your deepest longings, which are so often clouded by deceptive worldly promises. As Saint John Paul II said: “He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives” (cf. Discourse at the Prayer Vigil at Tor Vergata, 19 August 2000: Insegnamenti XXIII/2, [2000], 212). […]

Evangelization prayer intention: Help persecuted Christians

That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.

“Where it is forbidden to pray”

There are more Christians being martyred and persecuted today than in the early days of the Church. In some countries it is even prohibited to pray together. Pope Francis made this dramatic reality the focus of his meditation on Friday morning, 4 April.

Universal prayer intention: Welcome the needy

That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have wanted to be with you today. I want to tell you that you are not alone. In these weeks and months, you have endured much suffering in your search for a better life.

Evangelization:  Christians at the service of the challenges of humanity

That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.

[…] In all the faithful there must always be a growing awareness of the commitment that implies the will of Jesus expressed in his prayer to the Father on the eve of His Passion: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). […]

Universal: End to Child‐Soldiers

That the scandal of child‐soldiers may be eliminated the world over

[…] The Child Jesus, born in Bethlehem, is the sign given by God to those who awaited salvation, and he remains forever the sign of God’s tenderness and presence in our world. The angel announces to the shepherds: “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child…”.

Evangelization: Europe

That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.

I address my cordial greeting to you, to the Bishops, to the national leaders and to the young people gathered these days in Rome for the Fourth European Meeting on Youth Ministry, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in cooperation with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences on the theme: A young Church witnessing to the joy of the Gospel.