Pope Francis invites Christians to pray for the peace of Christ to renew nations torn by war and violence, as he prays the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday.

He prayed that the gift of the Lord’s peace “may reach places where it is most needed, especially peoples exhausted by war, hunger, and every form of oppression.”

The Pope made the appeal after praying the Regina Coeli, the traditional Marian prayer at Eastertide, with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

“May the gift of the Risen Lord’s peace reach these people, their families, and communities”, he prayed.

A day earlier, in his Easter Urbi et Orbi address, the Pope reflected at length on the many conflicts that riddle our world.

He spoke first about the Israel-Hamas war causing death and destruction in the Holy Land, praying that humanitarian aid might be allowed into Gaza and that Hamas might release the 100-plus Israeli hostages taken on October 7, 2023.

Pope Francis also recalled the ongoing horrors of Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling for a general exchange of prisoners of war.

His thoughts also turned to the lost smiles of children who endure war.

“With their gaze, they ask us: ‘Why? Why so much death? Why so much destruction?’ he said. “War is always an absurdity. War is always a defeat!”