On the first day of the new year and the 50th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis condemned a terrorist attack which took place in Istanbul early Sunday morning, praying for the victims, the injured and in support of everyone who works to fight violence and terrorism.
“Grieved, I express my closeness to the Turkish people, I pray for the many victims and the injured and for the whole nation in mourning,” the Pope said after leading the Angelus Jan. 1.
“I ask the Lord to support all people of good will who roll up their sleeves to boldly tackle the scourge of terrorism and the bloody stain that envelops the world with a shadow of fear and bewilderment.”
At least 39 people were killed, and another 69 injured, after a gunman opened fire in a nightclub in Istanbul around 1:30 am local time Sunday, the BBC reports. Authorities are still looking for the assailant.
In his Angelus message, Pope Francis said that peace is brought about by saying “no” to hatred and violence and “yes” to fraternity and reconciliation. And that the year ahead will only “be good to the extent that each of us, with God’s help, will try to do good every day.”
A crowd of around 50,000 people attended the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican reports.
Jan. 1 is also the day the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Before praying the Angelus Pope Francis reflected on the participation of Mary in our salvation through her role as the mother of Jesus.
“Jesus was ‘born of woman’ (Gal. 4:4) for a mission of salvation, and his mother is not excluded from this mission, indeed, she is intimately associated,” he said.
“She said her ‘yes’ and gave her willingness to be involved in the implementation of God’s plan of salvation.”
God not only asked Mary to be the mother of his Son, but he also asked her to cooperate with the Son in God’s plan of salvation, “so that in her and through her, the humble servant,” the Pope said, “the great works of divine mercy” could be fulfilled.
“And then while, like the shepherds, we contemplate the icon of the Child in the arms of his Mother,” he continued, “we feel grow in our hearts a sense of immense gratitude to the One who gave the world the Savior. For this, the first day of a new year, let us say: Thank you, Holy Mother of the Son of God, Jesus!”
“Thank you for your humility that attracted the eyes of God; thank you for the faith with which you have welcomed his word; thanks for the courage with which you said ‘here I am.'”