AFGHANISTAN The Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs has urged Catholics to pray for the people of Afghanistan, while pointing to the work of humanitarian organisations, and efforts to welcome refugees, as signs of hope. Bishop Declan said: “As Christians, we are called to be people of hope, even when a situation may appear hopeless. Today our hope can be placed in those who are working tirelessly for dialogue, justice, and peace in their country. Our hope can be placed in the humanitarian organisations that are continuing to offer their assistance, and the efforts to welcome and protect refugees fleeing their homes. Above all we place our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we pray in the knowledge that he will never abandon the people of Afghanistan.” After the Angelus on Wednesday Pope Francis called for dialogue in the country: “I ask all of you to pray with me to the God of peace so that the clamour of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue. Only thus can the battered population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their own homes, and live in peace and security, in total mutual respect.