NUR-SULTAN – Nearly 10,000 people have attended a holy mass conducted by Pope Francis for Roman Catholics as well as representatives of other religions and their confessions on Sept. 14 in Nur-Sultan as part of his 38th apostolic journey to Kazakhstan.
During the celebration, the Pope, who arrived Sept. 13 to Nur-Sultan to attend the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, called on his people to strive for peace, love and compassion.
“Peace, as well as the coexistence of various ethnic groups and religious traditions, integral development and social justice cannot be acquired once and for all, it must be acquired every day. A universal effort is needed so that Kazakhstan can develop even more in brotherhood, dialogue and understanding to build bridges of solidarity cooperation with other peoples, nations and cultures,” said Pope Francis.
He emphasized the increasing number of countries torn by conflicts and violence.
“I think of many war-torn areas, particularly beloved Ukraine. May we never grow accustomed to war or resigned to its inevitability. Let us come to the aid of those who are suffering and let us insist on trying to truly achieve peace. What still needs to happen, how many deaths will it still take before conflict yields to dialogue for the good of people, nations and humanity?” he told the gathering.
The only way out, according to him, is through peace and the only way to reach peace is through dialogue.
“I learned with dismay that during those hours new hotspots of tension had ignited in the Caucasus region. Let us continue to pray that also in those territories, peace and harmony will prevail over strife,” Pope Francis said.
On his final day of the visit, the Pope plans to attend the closing ceremony of the congress where the participants are expected to adopt the declaration. It will be distributed during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. The main document of the congress includes a list of critical issues confronting the world today, potential solutions, and the aspirations and appeals of world religious leaders addressed to the international community.
The previous holy mass was celebrated by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Kazakhstan on Sept. 22-25, 2001. It was just few days after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.