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Pope Francis asks Mary’s intercession in World Day of Peace video

Pope Francis invoke the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Peace and Mother of Mercy at a prayer vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Basilica, Friday, Oct. 27. / Credit: Courtney Mares

Rome Newsroom, Jan 1, 2024 / 09:00 am (CNA).

In a video marking the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1, Pope Francis asks the Blessed Mother to “teach us to cherish and care for life — each and every human life” and “to repudiate the folly of war, which sows death and eliminates the future.”

“This is a dark hour, Mother,” the pope prays in the video, which was released Monday. “Turn your eyes of mercy toward our human family, which preferred Cain to Abel.”

The Vatican described the video, which used selections from Pope Francis’s Oct. 27 prayer for peace, as an exploration of “the visual and existential contrasts between war and peace.”

It shows a child walking across a desolate field, as another runs joyfully through the tall grass. Smoke billows from a just-bombed building, while fireworks of celebration light up the night sky. Other scenes juxtapose marching soldiers with civilians crossing the street, flying kites with fighter jets, and an elderly woman crying in anguish with another praying serenely.

“You suffer with us and for us, as you see your children suffering from conflicts and wars that are tearing our world apart,” Pope Francis prays to Mary, as an image of a burned-out church is set against a chapel glowing with lit votive candles. You can watch the full video below.

Praying for peace has been a major emphasis of Pope Francis’s in recent months, as armed conflicts rage across the world. In his Urbi et Orbi address on Christmas Day, the pope prayed for an end to violence in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and several other conflict areas in Africa and the Middle East. Francis has repeated many of these intentions in his most recent addresses.

“Please, let’s not forget Ukraine, Palestine, Israel, which are at war,” the pope said in his Angelus message for Jan. 1. “Let’s pray for peace to come, altogether.”

The Catholic Church has observed the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, since 1968. For this year’s observance, Pope Francis also released a message calling for the global regulation of artificial intelligence for “peace and common good.”

In the newly released video, a young girl sits in rubble while another reads quietly on her classroom floor, as Pope Francis tells the Blessed Mother that “we cannot succeed alone.” The pope continues, asking Mary to grant that a “glimmer of light may illumine the dark night of conflict.

“Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, pour forth into our hearts God’s gift of harmony.”

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