December 16, 2013

Pope Francis called on Catholics worldwide to pray for five Orthodox nuns who were kidnapped in Syria and for all people who have been abducted during the conflict there.

"Let's keep praying and working together for peace," he said in an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Dec. 4.

The pope invited everyone to pray for the nuns who "were forcibly taken away by armed men" Dec. 1.

"Let us pray for these sisters and for all people abducted because of the conflict underway," he said before leading the crowd in praying the Hail Mary in Italian.

The kidnapping of the nuns from a Christian village near Damascus shocked Syria's Christian community and filled many Christians with fear, said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.