Congregation of 300,000 attend papal Mass in Amman's International Stadium

Hope for peace comes from faith in God, Pope Francis has said as he celebrated Mass on his first day in the Holy Land.

“The way of peace is strengthened if we realise that we are all of the same stock and members of one human family, if we never forget that we have the same heavenly father and are all his children, made in his image and likeness,” the Pope said in his homily at Amman’s International Stadium.

“Diversity of ideas and persons should not trigger rejection or prove an obstacle, for variety always enriches,” he told the congregation of some 30,000 people. “We ought, therefore, to show concrete signs of humility, fraternity, forgiveness and reconciliation.

“Peace is not something which can be bought,” the Pope said. “It is a gift to be sought patiently and to be crafted through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives.”

“Let us ask the spirit to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion,” he said. “Let us ask him to anoint our whole being with the oil of mercy, which heals the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstandings and disputes.”

Under blue skies, with the air stirred by a dry breeze, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Italian, with readings and responses read in Arabic.

Before the pope’s arrival, clusters of yellow and white balloons representing the Vatican flag colors were released in the sky above the stadium, followed by those of the Jordanian flag – white, red, black and green – amid the cheering crowd.