Pope Francis shed tears as he prayed for peace in Ukraine during a customary Christmas visit to the Virgin Mary monument near Rome’s Spanish Steps on Thursday.
As Francis began to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and the suffering of its citizens, he was forced to pause for a little period of time due to his inability to speak. He said, before choking and sobbing, “I would have wanted to have delivered you the thanks of the Ukrainian people.
After a long moment of quiet, the gathering of people, believers, and clerics cheered the pope, pushing him to continue. He then resumed the prayer from where he left off.
“The Ukrainian people for the peace we have so long asked the Lord. Instead, I must present you with the pleas of children, elderly, mothers and fathers and the young people of that martyred land, who are suffering so much,” he added.
The pope was paying his annual visit to the Spanish Steps, in central Rome, on Dec. 8, a national holiday dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in late February, Pope Francis has mentioned Ukraine in most of his public speeches.
After completing the prayer, the pope greeted people in the crowd who had gathered in the famous Roman piazza.