• Pope Francis on Sunday remembered the people of Syria caught up in the continuing conflict in the country. In particular, the Holy Father made an urgent and heartfelt appeal for the release of Italian Jesuit priest Father Paolo Dall’Oglio who was kidnapped in Syria almost two years ago.

    He also remembered both the Greek and Syriac Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi and Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped in Syria near the Turkish border in 2013. The Holy Father expressed the hope that with the commitment of international and local authorities these religious would be restored to freedom.

    Pope Francis made the appeal following the Angelus prayer in his studio above St Peter’s Square where, with the clic of a button, he became the first person to register for World Youth Day to be held next year in in Krakow, Poland.

    He opened registration for the event with two young people by his side, telling the faithful gathered in the square below that the day would be celebrated in the Year of Mercy, adding it would be, “in a sense, a jubilee of youth, called to reflect on the theme “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”.

    He then invited the youth of the world to live this pilgrimage to Krakow, participating, he said, “in this moment of grace in their communities.”

    Pope Francis also recalled the feast of Saints Joachim e Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus, marked on July 26th. With that in mind the Pope had a special greeting for all grandparents thanking them for their precious presence in the family and for the new generation.

    Source: Vatican Radio