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Monday, September 7, 2015

Appeal to the dioceses of Europe to welcome refugee families

Vatican City, 6 September 2015 (VIS) – After praying the Angelus, Francis launched a heartfelt appeal to all the dioceses of Europe to welcome families among the tens of thousands of refugees seeking to flee the horrors of war and persecution.

“We recognise God's mercy through our works, as is shown by the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the anniversary of whose death we commemorated yesterday”.

“Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who flee death from war or hunger, on a journey towards the hope of life, the Gospel calls to us and asks us to be close to them, to the smallest and the abandoned; to give them real hope. Not merely to say; 'be brave, be patient'. Christian hope is assertive, with the tenacity of those who go towards a certain destination”.

“Therefore, as we near the Jubilee of Mercy, I wish to address an appeal to the parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines throughout Europe to express the concreteness of the Gospel and to welcome a family of refugees. A concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year of Mercy. May every parish, every religious community, every monastery and every shrine in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome”,

“I address my brother bishops in Europe, true pastors, so that in their dioceses they may hear my appeal, recalling that Mercy is the second name of Love: 'as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me'. The two parishes of the Vatican will also welcome two families of refugees in these days”.

The Pope then went on to mention that the bishops of Venezuela and Colombia will meet shortly to examine together the painful situation that has emerged on the border between the two countries. “I see in this meeting a clear sign of hope. I invite all, especially the beloved Venezuelan and Colombian peoples, to pray that, in a spirit of solidarity and fraternity, the current difficulties may be overcome”.

He also remarked that yesterday in Gerona, Spain, the women religious Fidelia Oller, Josefa Monrabal and Facunda Margenat, “killed for their fidelity to Christ and to the Church”, were proclaimed blessed. Despite threats and intimidation, these women bravely stayed where they were to assist the sick, trusting in God. May their heroic witness, unto the shedding of their blood, give strength and hope to those who are persecuted today for their Christian faith. And as we know, there are many of them”.

Finally, he spoke about the inauguration last Friday in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, of the eleventh African Games, in which thousand of athletes from all over the continent will compete. “I hope that this great festival of sport will contribute to peace, fraternity and the development of all the countries of Africa”.

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