The Gospel of Oleksandre

Publish date 15-05-2024

by Domenico Agasso

"Many young people die in war", also for this reason conflicts are "madness", as well as "a defeat". This is the warning that Francis launches at the general audience on the eleventh anniversary of his election to the papal throne.

The anniversary is marked by the suffering due to the many wars underway in the world, starting from Ukraine and the Holy Land. And from the pontiff's daily commitment to peace, the Italian Episcopal Conference chooses the symbolic words of the pontificate: «Good evening, Joy, Gospel, Mercy, Love, Family, Youth, Brotherhood, Creation, Reform, Church». The pope's voice is interrupted by coughs, «I'm a bit cold», he says, «and for this reason I asked the monsignor (Pierluigi Giroli, ed.) to read the catechesis». But at a certain point the bishop of Rome speaks again: «Please, let us persevere in fervent prayer for those who suffer the terrible consequences of war. Today they brought me a rosary and a Gospel of a young soldier who died at the front: he prayed with this. Many young people, many young people go to die! Let us pray to the Lord to give us the grace to overcome this madness of war which is always a defeat."

It was Sister Lucia Caram, an Argentinian resident in Spain – famous for her humanitarian missions, including those in Ukraine – who gave the Pope the Gospel and the rosary of the soldier who lost his life in battle . The nun met Francis in the Vatican. She gave him «a gift that moved him – she says – a case with the book of the Gospels and the Psalms that a soldier who died at the front carried. I gave him the rosary that Oleksandre was wearing when he died. It was a rosary blessed" by the Pope himself. Francis "kissed the rosary and was moved." Bergoglio "loves Ukraine and suffers the martyrdom of this invaded and cruelly attacked people". The pontiff «encouraged me to continue. He gave me other rosaries to take to Ukraine." Sister Lucia was with the Religion Digital group. They gave the pontiff a book containing messages of support for him. «We saw a serene pope. Full of strength, with a lot of joy and with a welcoming heart that excites".

Domenico Agasso
NP April 2024

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