Pope Francis presides over Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God in St. Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 21, 2024. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Jan 21, 2024 / 11:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis called for the release of six religious sisters who have been kidnapped in Haiti in his Angelus address on Sunday.

Armed gunmen took the religious sisters hostage in Port-au-Prince on Friday during a bus hijacking, according to Vatican News. The sisters, members of the Sisters of Saint Anne congregation, were abducted along with all of the other bus passengers.

“I have learned with sorrow of the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of people, including six religious sisters,” Pope Francis said on Jan. 21.

“In my heartfelt plea for their release, I pray for social concord in the country. And I invite everyone to bring an end to the violence, which is causing a great deal of suffering to that beloved population.”

The Sisters of Saint Anne congregation has been present in Haiti for 80 years serving in the fields of education, catechesis, and human development. 

Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-à-Veau and Miragoâne, Haiti, condemned the kidnapping, calling for an end to “deplorable and criminal practices.”

“This latest odious and barbaric act shows no respect for the dignity of these consecrated women who give themselves wholeheartedly and completely to God to educate and form the young, the poorest and the most vulnerable of our society,” Dumas said.

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