Pope shows off rosary of slain Ukrainian soldier, denounces ‘madness of war’

Pope Francis led thousands of people in a moment of silence Wednesday to pray for the aid workers killed by an Israeli strike in Gaza and a young Ukrainian soldier named Oleksandre who was killed in ‘’this madness of war.”

Francis appealed anew for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages taken from Israel on Oct 7 by Hamas. Praying for the families of the seven World Central Kitchen workers killed, he called for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza’s people and for all efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading.

At the end of his general audience, Francis also showed tourists and pilgrims in St Peter’s Square the rosary and camouflaged New Testament book that a 23-year-old Ukrainian soldier named Oleksandre had with him when he was killed in the eastern city of Avdijevka.

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