Vatican City, 7 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a letter to Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento on the anniversary of his visit in July 2013 to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa to pray for the African immigrants who lost their lives when the boat they were travelling on capsized. “One year on, the problem of immigration is becoming worse, and tragedies of this type continue to occur with dogged regularity”, writes the Pope. “Our heart struggles to accept the death of these, our brothers and sisters, who face extenuating journeys to escape from dramatic situations, poverty, wars and conflicts, often linked to to international politics. Once again I spiritually reach out to the Mediterranean Sea to weep with all those who suffer and to launch flowers of prayer for the souls of the women, men and children who are victims of a drama that seems to be without end.”
In his letter, Pope Francis emphasises that this situation must be faced “not with the logic of indifference but with the logic of hospitality and sharing in order to protect and promote the dignity and centrality of every human being”. Likewise, the Pontiff encouraged “Christian communities and all people of good will to continue to reach out and lend a helping hand to all those who are in need, without counting the cost, without fear, with tenderness and understanding”, and expressed his hope that “the competent institutions, especially at the European level, may be more courageous and generous in relief for refugees”.