Pope Unveils Sacred Rosary Linked to a Fallen Ukrainian Soldier, Harshly Condemns ‘Chaos of War’

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Pope Francis led thousands of people in a poignant moment of silence on Wednesday, offering prayers for the aid workers killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza and a young Ukrainian soldier named Oleksandre who lost his life in the ongoing conflict.

Appeal for Cease-fire and Humanitarian Aid

During the solemn occasion, Francis appealed once again for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urged for the release of hostages taken by Hamas from Israel on October 7.

Expressing condolences for the seven World Central Kitchen workers killed in the strike, he emphasized the urgency of delivering humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and preventing further escalation of the conflict.

Remembering Oleksandre and His Sacrifice

After his general audience, Pope Francis displayed a rosary and a camouflaged New Testament book that belonged to Oleksandre, a 23-year-old Ukrainian soldier killed in the city of Avdijevka.

These items were given to Francis by Sister Lucia Caram, an Argentine-born nun residing in Spain, who has been actively involved in humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

According to Sister Caram’s account on March 13, Francis was deeply moved during a private audience when she presented him with Oleksandre’s rosary and New Testament.

The pontiff kissed the rosary, previously blessed by himself, and encouraged Sister Caram to continue her mission, providing her with additional rosaries to distribute in Ukraine.

In a solemn gesture, Pope Francis flipped through the pages of Oleksandre’s New Testament, visibly moved as he reflected on the young soldier’s life cut short by the ravages of war.

He called for a moment of silent prayer, urging those gathered to remember Oleksandre and countless others who have perished in the ongoing conflict.

Continued Efforts for Peace and Healing

This display of solidarity and remembrance by Pope Francis underscores his ongoing commitment to advocating for peace and humanitarian relief in conflict zones.

The pontiff has previously highlighted the human toll of the Ukraine war, exhibiting relics such as a battered Ukrainian flag recovered from Bucha, a site marred by early Russian atrocities.

As the world grapples with the devastating consequences of armed conflict, Pope Francis continues to amplify calls for compassion, reconciliation, and efforts to alleviate the suffering of those affected by violence and displacement.

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