Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 5, 2022 / 05:35 am (CNA).
Pope Francis had a poignant exchange Saturday with a young Ukrainian boy who asked him to visit Ukraine “to save all the children who are suffering there now.”
The conversation took place at the Vatican where the pope met with 160 schoolchildren of various faiths participating in the program “Treno dei Bambini,” Italian for “Children’s Train,” an initiative of the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Italian state railways.
The request for Pope Francis to visit Ukraine came from a young Ukrainian boy named Sachar, who left Ukraine as a refugee and now lives in Rome, according to Vatican Media.
“I do not have a question but a request: Can you come to Ukraine to save all the children who are suffering there now?” the boy asked.
“I am glad that you are here. I think a lot about the children of Ukraine, and for that I have sent some cardinals to help there and to be close to all the people, to the children,” responded the pope, who was seated in his wheelchair.
“I would like to go to Ukraine,” he continued. “I just have to wait for the moment to do it, you know, because it’s not easy to make a decision that can do more harm than good to the whole world.”
The pope went on to say that “this coming week I will be receiving representatives of the Ukrainian government, who will come to talk, also to talk about my possible visit there. Let’s see what happens.” You can watch the pope’s interactions with the children in the EWTN video below:
June 3 marked the 100th day of the war in Ukraine. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, 4,183 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, of whom 268 are minors. In addition, 5,014 people have been injured, including 427 minors.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that nearly 7 million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since the fighting started, and millions more have been displaced from their homes to other parts of Ukraine.
This story was originally published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency. The story was translated and edited by CNA.
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