(RoyalPatriot.com )- Prior to his departure to Kazakhstan, an ex-Soviet nation, this week for a gathering of world religious leaders, Pope Francis requested prayers on Sunday.
Before his expected three-day attendance at the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which gets underway on Tuesday, Francis appealed during a message in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis remarked that it would be an opportunity to meet so many religious leaders and to dialogue as brothers, driven by the common desire for peace, the peace for which our world is thirsting.
“I am grateful for the planning and labor put into getting ready for my visit. I kindly request that everyone join me in prayer as we journey toward peace,” he continued.
Since St. John Paul II traveled to Kazakhstan in 2001 as the first head of the Roman Catholic Church, the visit will be the first by a pope to the country.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has backed Vladimir Putin despite his country’s invasion of Ukraine, and Francis had wanted to speak with him. The possible encounter, however, was ended when Patriarch Kirill later declared he would not be attending the conference.
The prayer request was in line with the Pope’s preparations for his July visit to Canada. Francis traveled to numerous locations throughout the country, stopping at one to issue a formal apology for earlier times when indigenous Canadian children were coerced into attending religious schools.
According to the Associated Press, more than 150,000 native children in Canada were compelled to attend Christian schools from the 19th century until the 1970s.
Francis has continued to be active despite rumors that the Pope would retire due to knee issues that have hampered his travel. The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared he had no plans to retire after a recent trip to Canada.
Francis stated that he believes that at his age and with this restriction, he has to save some energy to serve the Church or think about the prospect of stepping down.
He said, “I don’t think I can keep conducting travels at the same pace as before. But I’ll make an effort to keep traveling to stay in contact with folks since it’s a way to help.”
Francis has also expressed his desire to visit Kyiv and Moscow to aid in promoting peace in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He hasn’t been able to travel to either place yet.