Pope Francis offered a prayer for Belarus Sunday asking for respect for justice and dialogue following a week of violent clashes over the disputed presidential election.
“I carefully follow the post-electoral situation in this country and appeal for dialogue, the rejection of violence and respect for justice and law. I entrust all Belarusians to the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Peace,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Aug. 16.
Protests erupted in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Aug. 9 after the government’s electoral officials announced a landslide victory for Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country since 1994.
An estimated 6,700 people were arrested in the protests in which demonstrators clashed with police forces, who used tear gas and rubber bullets. The United Nations condemned the police violence as violating international human rights standards.
Pope Francis said that he was praying for “dear Belarus” and continues to pray for Lebanon, as well as “other dramatic situations in the world that are causing people to suffer.”
In his Angelus reflection, the pope said that everyone can look to Jesus for healing, pointing to Sunday’s Gospel account of a Canaanite woman who called out to Jesus to heal her daughter.
“Let us go to Jesus, knock on Jesus’s heart and say to Him: ‘Lord, if You will it, you can heal me!’
“Let us remember the prayer: ‘Lord, if You will it, you can heal me!’ A beautiful prayer. Carry the Gospel: in your purse, in your pocket and even on your mobile phone, to look at. May the Lord help us, all of us, to pray this beautiful prayer,” he said.