Pope Francis gave a shoutout to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the end of his weekly audience on Wednesday, November 23.
Speaking to a crowd of people from around the world November 23, the Pope expressed his hope the international soccer competition would foster fraternity and peace.
“I wish to send my greetings to the players, fans and spectators who are following, from various continents, the World Cup, which is being played in Qatar,” he said in St. Peter’s Square.
“May this important event,” he continued, “be an occasion of encounter and harmony among nations, fostering fraternity and peace among peoples.”
Pope Francis added to his appeal for peace, asking for prayers for an end to all conflicts, especially the conflict in Ukraine.
He highlighted the upcoming anniversary, November 26, of Holodomor, also known as the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine, a man-made famine that took place in Soviet Ukraine from 1932 to 1933.
Francis called Holodomor a “terrible genocide” and an “extermination by starvation,” which was artificially caused by Joseph Stalin.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is being played in the State of Qatar, an emirate on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, from November 20 to December 18.
The choice of Qatar as host country for the men’s soccer tournament has been criticized due to conditions in the country, including the situation of Christians.