Pope prays in silence for all mothers in heaven and on earth

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has invited faithful in St. Peter’s Square to join him in silent prayer for each one’s own mother, including those in Heaven.

Greeting tourists and Romans on Sunday from a window overlooking the square, Francis noted that in many countries Mother’s Day was being celebrated.

He said: “So let’s remember with gratitude and affection all mothers, even our mothers in heaven.”

Francis then invited all in the crowd of 25,000 to spend “a few instants in silence, each one praying for their own mother.” He then bowed his head in prayer, before wishing all a good day.

Also, Pope Francis has appealed for penitence and prayers for the end of conflicts and wars he says are disfiguring “the face of humanity.”

Francis, addressing tourists and Romans Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, recalled those suffering in the Middle East such as Muslims, Christians and minorities like the Yazidis who are victims of “tragic violence and discrimination.”

He recalled his return a day earlier from the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, where many pray for peace.

Francis said that “today, there is so much need for prayer and penitence to implore the grace of conversion, to implore the ends of so many wars” that are “ever-widening.”

Similarly, he recommended prayers for the “’end to absurd conflicts, big and small, that disfigure the face of humanity.”