If Pope Francis asks us to pray for him, it’s because our beloved Lolo Kiko prays ceaselessly for all of us. In fact, he prays for a specific group of people or issue each month. So far this year, he has prayed for young people and the example of Mary (January), human trafficking (February), and the recognition of the right of Christian communities (March).
This April, Pope Francis prays for doctors and their collaborators in war zones, unsung heroes who put their lives on the line so that others may live.
“The presence of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers in war-torn areas is a sign of hope,” he said in this video. “They are wise, valiant, and good-hearted people who, following their vocation, work under extremely dangerous conditions. Let us pray for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war-torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.”
Also Read: Pope Francis’ Prayer of the Five Fingers
Heroes of War
For health practitioners in war zones, the struggle is real. Former war surgeon Robin Coupland was operating on a patient in Somalia in the early 1990s when a colleague standing next to him was shot. “The wounded and the hospitals are becoming integrated into the conflict,” he said in an article for the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the WHO report Attacks on Health Care, January 2015 to December 2015 saw 549 attacks on health care facilities that resulted in 959 deaths and 1,561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies. Sixty-two percent of the attacks were intentionally targeted to health care centers.
Besides risking their lives, these health practitioners make do with whatever facilities are available, and receive less-than-minimum wages, if any, for their efforts.
“They’re working days without sleep, without eating, while they watch the destruction of their communities,” said Susannah Sirkin, a policy expert with Physicians for Human Rights to Statnews. “They have to make the very difficult decision every day if they’re going to go into work and risk being killed, or stay home with their families, or flee.”
In your busy day, take a moment to pray for the protection, safety, and healing hands of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers in war zones. You don’t have to know them personally; just knowing about their selflessness and commitment to serve others despite the danger to their own lives is enough reason to send them good thoughts and prayers. Who knows? Your sincere prayer might even help save a life.
“Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer!” said Pope Francis.