RELIGION

Pope prays for minorities like Yazidis suffering in Mideast

Pope Francis has appealed for penitence and prayers for the end of conflicts and wars he says are disfiguring "the face of humanity."

Francis, addressing tourists and Romans Sunday in St. Peter's Square, recalled those suffering in the Middle East such as Muslims, Christians and minorities like the Yazidis who are victims of "tragic violence and discrimination."

He recalled his return a day earlier from the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, where many pray for peace.

Francis said that "today, there is so much need for prayer and penitence to implore the grace of conversion, to implore the ends of so many wars" that are "ever-widening."

Similarly, he recommended prayers for the "'end to absurd conflicts, big and small, that disfigure the face of humanity."