'I believe in love:' Francis launches first video prayer message

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Pope Francis has released his first-ever video message for the traditional papal prayer intention for the month, movingly calling on people of different faiths around the world to work together for peace and justice.

In a powerful 90-second video that also features other Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders, Francis says that the majority of the world's population identifies as religious believers.

"This should lead to dialogue among religions," the pontiff states, speaking in his native Spanish. "We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently."

"Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways," states Francis. "In this multitude, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty we have for all: We are all children of God."

As the pope speaks, the video shows images of the pontiff meeting different world religious leaders. It also shows each of the four featured inter-religious leaders stating their personal beliefs, before each affirming: "I believe in love."

"I hope you will spread my prayer request this month," Francis asks at the end of the video. "That sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice."

"I have confidence in your prayers," he states.

Popes have released monthly prayer intentions for years, but normally have done so just with a brief textual note. The Vatican announced this week that Francis will be making his from now on in video messages with help from the international group Apostleship of Prayer.

The videos are to be made available in ten languages.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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