The Pope about the events in Gaza: "Violence never leads to peace"

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He also led Catholics in praying a Hail Mary to ask for the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace.

"I am very anxious about the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and about the spiral of violence which moves us ever further away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation", he said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

Francis' appeal came after Israeli soldiers shot and killed 59 Palestinians and wounded hundreds in mass protests at the Gaza border, part of a weeks-long campaign to break a border blockade that Israel and Egypt imposed after Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007. "I express my great pain for the deaths and injuries. and reiterate that the use of violence never leads to peace. War incites war, violence incites violence". "God have mercy on us!"

Francis has on several occasions expressed support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, indirectly criticizing US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"I invite all the parties involved and the global community to renew their commitment because dialogue, justice and peace prevail", Francis said, before leading the thousands who were gathered in St. Peter's Square in praying a Hail Mary.

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Pope Francis passes by a banner of Philippines' believers during a weekly general audience at St Peter's square on May 16, 2018 in Vatican.

These items make visible the invisible spiritual effects of the sacrament, he said, noting how the white garment reminds us of St. Paul's words: "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ". "As the flame of the paschal candle gives light to individual candles, so the love of the Risen Lord inflames the hearts of the baptized, filling them with light and heat".

"I was in Ausonia in the year '59". He explained that is symbolized the fire of faith passing from the godparents and parents to the child.

Pope Francis met with the Chilean bishops yesterday afternoon before meetings again today and tomorrow.

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