More than 230 million children around the world live in areas affected by armed conflict. Although there is no accurate data on the total number of child soldiers, it is estimated that there are around 250,000. Child soldiers — some as young as 6 years old — are forced to fight and kill. They are also compelled to participate in espionage, support armed groups as informants, and engage in illicit activities such as drug production.
Prayer and supporting JRS and Entreculturas programs can help ensure that children do not spend their childhood on a battlefield. People are also encouraged to support Pope Francis' initiative by signing the related petition.
Below is The Pope's Video — a worldwide call to turn prayer into "concrete gestures" — from December 2016, in which the pope prays that the scandal of child soldiers may be eliminated.
October 16, 2019 - Having converted to Catholicism when I was 17, I had toyed with the idea of the priesthood and religious life for some years, but my discernment had grown much more serious of late. And while my attraction to the priesthood was sincere, so was my aversion to being a parish priest. I enjoyed academics, and I wanted to teach.
September 16, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. John V. White, SJ, who died on October 12, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 90 years old. May he rest in peace.
October 11, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life Fr. Raymond C. Baumhart, SJ, who died on October 10, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 95 years old. May he rest in peace.