STORY: Speaking to thousands of people in St. Peter's Square for his noon blessing, Francis again implicitly criticized Russia.
In Roman Catholicism, the month of May is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Francis asked for month-long prayers for peace in Ukraine.
"My thoughts go immediately to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the city of Mary, barbarously bombarded and destroyed," he said of the mostly Russian-controlled southeastern port city, which is named after Mary.
"I suffer and cry thinking of the suffering of the Ukrainian population, in particular the weakest, the elderly, the children," he said.